Genre: Fiction: Children/YA aged 8 – 14
Author: Marcia Strykowski
Synopsis: For 13-year-old Amy Henderson, 1973 has been a lonely year in her small Maine fishing village. With the help of a wounded seal pup, she gets to know Craig, a tough kid in an old army jacket. A new law against handling wild marine mammals brings suspense to the story. Where can they keep Pup until he heals? Their only hope is to trust Miss Cogshell, an elderly woman keeping to herself amidst jeers from the local kids. She catches them sneaking Pup into her woodshed in the middle of the night. Throughout the book, small challenges prepare Amy for her greatest one of all. A challenge that leads her to discover that everyone, herself included, has a voice worth hearing.
Excerpt: Chapter 1 (first two pages)
Sharp ocean air raced around my bedroom before I slammed the windows shut and headed downstairs.
My big sister Nancy called out to me. “Are you going for a walk by yourself again?” She swung her dark, glossy ponytail over one straight shoulder.
I nodded as I stooped to pull on my boots.
Nancy, as different from me as perfume is to tiddlywinks, was sprawled across the kitchen linoleum. Seventeen magazine lay open while Carly Simon’s hit song “You’re So Vain” blared from her transistor radio. Nancy had little wads of cotton stuffed between her toes, so her shiny, pink toenails wouldn’t smudge. I blocked my nose, hoping to get out of there fast before the smell of nail polish made me puke.
“You know, Amy, you really should try to make some friendsso you don’t have to mope around by yourself every Saturday. There must be somebody else your age in this boring port.”
Duh. What was I supposed to say to that?
“I’m telling you,” continued Nancy, raising her voice over the music as she examined her toes, “just two more years and I’ll kiss this hole-in-the-wall town goodbye.”
I slipped into my yellow parka and pushed open the door, ignoring her. The breeze swept in to flip the pages of Nancy’s magazine.
“Check the post office for me!” Nancy’s shout came faint against the wind just before the door blew shut.
I was already halfway down the hill, and most likely I would end up at the post office. Where else would I go? In Port Wells there were only so many places to visit, so the pier, Al’s General Store, and the post office were at the top of the list. For the religious sort, there was a Baptist church across from the post office. Its steeple was the first thing you’d spot when coming around the corner off the main road.
Oh, and how could I forget—for those who liked smelly little bait shops, there was one of those, sticking off the back of the general store. A simple thing like wanting to buy a pair of bellbottoms or borrow a library book meant going into Thomaston - thirty miles away. The sparkle of the salt air and surf made living on the coast all worth it, though.
I slowed my pace and took tiny steps down the hill through the pine trees, my boots flattening the last of the snow. As much as I hated to admit it, I knew Nancy was right. So far, 1973 had been a lonely year.
"Well-drawn, sympathetic characters and the developing spark between Amy and Craig combine to create a pleasant, satisfying read." —Kirkus
“Strykowski lovingly captures seaside Maine and the travails of adolescence in her quiet, sweet-natured debut novel.”—Publishers Weekly
" Readers will cheer her on, and her splendid team, too." —Booklist
“Set in the early 70s and exploring the essence of loneliness, "Call Me Amy" is a powerful read that should prove so very hard to put down, highly recommended.”—Midwest Book Review
“This character-driven novel is told from Amy's point of view. The protagonist grows throughout the story, from a shy loner to having two friends and speaking her mind in front of her adversaries at school as well as to the whole town. …Amy is a reliable narrator and easily relatable.” —School Library Journal
“Every once in a while, a book comes along that you just can’t put down. This book draws you in so deeply, you just have to keep reading. Set in the 1970s, it is a heartwarming story of friendship and coming of age. The story is well-developed and has enough twists and turns to keep even a reluctant reader interested.” —Library Media Connection