Aristotle "Aris" Thibodeau is 12.5 years old and destined for greatness. Ever since her father's death, however, she's been stuck in the small town of Kanuga, Georgia, where she has to manage her mother Diane's floundering love life and dubious commitment to her job as an English professor. Not to mention co-parenting a little brother who hogs all the therapy money. Luckily, Aris has a plan. Following the advice laid out in Write a Novel in Thirty Days! she sets out to pen a bestseller using her charmingly dysfunctional family as material. If the Mom-character, Diane, would ditch online dating and accept that the perfect man is clearly the handyman/nanny-character, Penn MacGuffin, Aris would have the essential romance for her plot (and a father in her real life). But when a random accident uncovers a dark part of Thibodeau family history, Aris is forced to confront the fact that sometimes in life-as in great literature-things might not work out exactly as planned.
"In the vein of Graeme Simsion's The Rosie Project , Sumner's quirky story about an unconventional family is charming and precocious, like Aris herself." -Library Journal "[A] tour de force. . . . Sumner brings a knowing, tongue-in-cheek sparkle to discussions of writing workshop chestnuts . . . never losing sight of the humanity of her characters or the unpredictable nature of reality." - Atlanta Journal-Constitution "I have long been an admirer of Melanie Sumner's fiction-the fierce wit and sharp intelligence and trained eye when locating the pulse of compassion-and How To Write A Novel , her brilliant new novel, offers all this and more. I love the narrator, Aris Thibodeau, twelve-and-a-half going on eternal, and I love the references to writing-the parallels to real life that lead to those moving moments that cannot be edited. A beautiful and accomplished novel by an extraordinarily gifted talent." - Jill McCorkle, author of Life After Life "If someone were going to make a novel out of your no doubt complicated life, you'd definitely want your narrator to be Aristotle Thibodeau, the precociously wise (though never annoyingly so) tell-it-all behind Melanie Sumner's hilarious and warm-hearted novel." -Will Blythe, editor of Why I Write and author of To Hate Like This Is To Be Happy Forever "Sweet, clever, and fun." - Kirkus Reviews