Sixteen-year-old Victor is not a typical teenage boy. Instead of spending his time playing video games or causing trouble with friends, he prefers to live life “under the radar,” hoping to remain unnoticed by the rest of the world.
While browsing through a yard sale, he finds an old Royal typewriter, and he can immediately feel a connection telling him that the machine holds something magical inside for him.
Victor heads off to the woods and begins writing in his uncle’s abandoned cabin, free to be alone and think. He never expects to find someone else waiting in the forest, but it is there he first sees Rose Anna, who prefers to write in the cabin without the burden of clothing.
Initially, the characters hide from one another, embarrassed by vulnerability. However, once Victor meets her, he discovers that Rose Anna is a beautiful, free-spirited girl with a big heart and a thirst for knowledge. She is home-schooled and eager to spend the majority of her time exploring the Vermont woods, studying the animals and plants. She loves nature and has a passion for saving the environment.
Levelheaded Victor finds himself completely enthralled by Rose Anna’s charisma and unique mind. From there, they begin a writing partnership. Side by side, they write, stopping only to trade manuscripts. Victor types logical accounts of everything that happens in his day-to-day life, while Rose Anna dives into an imaginary world with her ancient fountain pen in hand, spinning captivating tales of talking salamanders.
Rose Anna’s stories are powerful, while Victor continually uses lower case i’s to describe himself, as he doesn’t believe he is important enough for capitalization. Despite their apparent differences, the two teenagers both have something to teach each other about life and the world that surrounds them.
Rose Anna encourages Victor to expand his boundaries and to overcome his reserved nature, and Victor becomes a dependable life preserver for Rose Anna as she struggles to deal with issues from her mother’s past. Alone in the woods, the pair embarks along a powerful journey of self-discovery, friendship, and love that leaves them both changed forever.
In this phenomenal story, author Peter Gould realistically explores the minds of two uncommon young people. Victor is relatable with his insecurities and awkwardness around others. Rose Anna’s enthusiasm is contagious, and her desire to save the planet is inspiring. The novel encourages everyone to express themselves and find who they are deep down, while also providing a great deal of information about global warming and other environmental issues. I think readers will be most impressed, however, by the captivating love story that unfolds deep within the woods.
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