From the Files of Madison Finn: Only the Lonely - Book #1

Overview

Madison Finn isn't sure that she can survive the end of the summer, let along the beginning of a new school year. Middle school is a whole new world, and with her parents' divorce and new classmates at school, life is all about changes. Madison uses her laptop and the internet to help her through the trials and tribulations of seventh grade.

This fresh, new series for "tweens" introduces Madison Finn, a seventh graderdealing with issues such as friendships, divorce, ...

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Overview

Madison Finn isn't sure that she can survive the end of the summer, let along the beginning of a new school year. Middle school is a whole new world, and with her parents' divorce and new classmates at school, life is all about changes. Madison uses her laptop and the internet to help her through the trials and tribulations of seventh grade.

This fresh, new series for "tweens" introduces Madison Finn, a seventh graderdealing with issues such as friendships, divorce, and school, while using herlaptop and the Internet to help her through changes.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
Her friend Fiona is already setting her sights on Harvard, but Madison Finn can't contemplate anything beyond summer vacation before that dreaded seventh grade. But life, like fashion disasters, happens even when you're not looking. Which, if you're Madison, is soon enough.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The chatty debut installment of the From the Files of Madison Finn series introduces a high-strung and contemplative heroine who pronounces herself "allergic" to change. The summer before seventh grade, Madison is still reeling from her parents' divorce a year earlier. With her two best pals, Aimee and Egg, away at camp, she feels bored and lonely not to mention anxious about the impending start of junior high. When she becomes friends with a new girl in her neighborhood, Madison worries about juggling this relationship with her tried-and-true friendships, then agonizes about whether she still has as much in common with Aimee and Egg as before. The novel's title refers to one of the files that Madison keeps on her beloved laptop, on which she records her feelings, fears and fixations. The computer also gives rise to e-mails and chat room dialogue, faithfully recorded here ("evry one is @ a party except 4 me"), which supplement the often long-winded narrative ("Madison went into her super-special computer files. She accessed the files with a specially selected, super-special password which was so super-special that even she forgot it sometimes"). The issues are real enough and credibly handled, so that readers who identify with Madison's angst may well want to reach for the series' second book, Boy, Oh Boy!, due out the same month. Ages 8-12. (Apr.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Children's Literature
Madison Finn is a typical preteen—she worries about friends, clothes, her dog and her divorced parents. In the introductory story of this new series, Madison is bored during a long summer while her two closest friends are away at camp. Things change when a new neighbor appears; she is just the right age and seems to be exactly what Madison wants in a friend. However, Madison is unsure about what Fiona thinks of her, and she also feels a little worried that she might be betraying her old friends by making a new one while they are away. One of Madison's favorite pastimes is playing on the computer, so as she struggles to make sense of things, she keeps all of her thoughts in separate files on her hard drive. Everything comes to a head when school begins, and Fiona is swept into a crowd that is headed up by Madison's worst enemy. It takes a great effort from each friend to work out the kinks in their new expanded group. This book has a unique appeal because it draws upon many teen culture standards-computers, chat rooms, fashion, pop phrases and group membership. Part of the "Only the Lonely" series.
—Carol Lynch
School Library Journal
Gr 4-6-Fluffy reading loaded with computer messages is the gimmick here for wired girls. Madison Finn is "allergic to change," and this summer her life is fraught with "flux." Instead of hanging out with her best friends, she goes with her mom to Brazil to scout a location for a nature documentary. When they return home, the 12-year-old's pals are in camp and her parents are getting a divorce. Bored, lonely, and filled with angst at the thought of entering seventh grade, she searches chat rooms for new friends only to find one in her neighborhood. (Fortunately, Madison is savvy enough not to exchange intimate information.) Then Egg and Aimee return from camp, and the beginning of seventh grade is not what Madison expected. Her new friend Fiona makes the mistake of connecting with Maddie's archenemies at school. The first in a projected series, this novel has no heavy messages to weigh down a light summer read.-Marilyn Payne Phillips, University City Public Library, MO Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780786815531
  • Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
  • Publication date: 5/28/2001
  • Series: From the Files of Madison Finn Series , #1
  • Edition description: 1ST
  • Pages: 176
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.25 (w) x 7.62 (h) x 0.37 (d)

Meet the Author

Laura Dower has written over eighty books for children, including the series From the Files of Madison Finn. Since she started writing the Palace Puppies series, her kids have been begging her for a dog. Wag your tail over to www.lauradower.com and let her know what kind of puppy she should get!
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Interviews & Essays

An Interview with Laura Dower

Barnes & Noble.com: Name a few of your favorite children's books. Why have you chosen them as favorites?

Laura Dower: A few? When I was younger, I worked my way through the children's library in my town until I'd read almost everything! Spending summers in Maine as a kid made me love Robert McCloskey all the more -- especially Blueberries for Sal, One Morning in Maine, and Make Way for Ducklings. I also read each of Laura Ingalls Wilder's Little House on the Prairie books at least ten times (partly because my name was Laura, I am sure). Other favorites: the Frances books by Russell Hoban; Amelia Bedelia; The Velveteen Rabbit; Roald Dahl's books; and the Nancy Drew mysteries. Finally, I read everything by Judy Blume (when I read Are You There God, It's Me Margaret? back in the late '70s, I knew I wanted to be a writer, too).

B&N.com: What inspired you to create the character of Madison Finn? What do you like most about Maddie?

LD: While brainstorming ideas for a seventh-grade book series with my editor, the idea for Madison tumbled out of my brain. Actually, her name was originally "Morgan" inside my head, but I decided to change it because I liked the idea of calling her Maddie as a nickname. Sometimes character names happen because they just sound right, whereas the "insides" of the characters come from a deeper place. I like Madison because she is in the middle of everything -- not at the top, not at the bottom. That's where most of us sit. I also admire how she stays interested and committed to her ideas. The files are a way to organize her thoughts -- but they're also a way to preserve and explore her wide range of feelings. Best of all, Maddie is a little bit of a spaz (like I was in seventh grade and like I still am -- LOL).

B&N.com: Where do you get your ideas for each of the new story lines in every book?

LD: I keep my eyes and ears open all the time. My desk is packed with files of clippings, articles, and random doodles. The Internet is a great idea sparker, too. I go to a search engine and plug in a word. Each new web page triggers another new idea, and so on. Then I sit back and pull them all together, thinking about how the characters in my books would react and respond. Ideas come from taking a walk outside, talking to my best friend on the phone, anywhere. The key is that I write things down. I may not need one idea today -- but I will need it someday. Ideas are sneaky -- they will disappear if you don't jot them down. I carry around a mini-notebook everywhere I go.

B&N.com: Are any of your characters from From the Files of Madison Finn based on people from your real life?

LD: Sure! There are bits and pieces of my friends and family in everything that I write. Madison has a lot of me in her, especially the "overthinking" part. I, too, am an only child, and my parents also divorced (but when I was much younger). Ivy is every girl in school who ever made fun of me, talked about me, or picked on me -- help! There were lots of those, unfortunately. But I also had great friends -- Fiona, Aimee, and Lindsay are all composites of the people from my real life. Many of the junior high teachers are also based on my own experiences from seventh grade. Mr. Gibbons and Mr. Danehy were, in fact, the names of my real English and science teachers back then, although I've changed their personalities in the books quite a bit. And I have a real Gramma Helen who is just as sweet as the one in the books. B&N.com: What do you like best about being an author? Do you have any suggestions for aspiring young writers?

LD: Being an author gives me this warm feeling way down in my belly. Writing gives me a reason to be creative all the time. And I have four key ideas about writing to share with wannabe authors:

1. Just READ. Everyone says to be a good author, you should read; and that's truer than true, as Madison would say. To write well, you need to feed your head. Books are the most nourishing, I think, but magazines, comic books, and the newspaper count, too. You can't put out if you aren't putting fuel in.

2. Just WRITE -- anything -- even if you think it stinks. Don't worry about mistakes, dumb ideas, or even bad spelling. You will improve! Carry around one of those little notebooks. At first, you probably won't even take it out of your bag, but wait! One day, during a beautiful sunset or on a long bus ride, it will be there, and you can write everything down at the moment when it happens.

3. Learn how to REWRITE. Once you write in your notebook or on the computer; then try to revise. Have fun crossing stuff out and writing new stuff to take its place. Play around with words. Don't be afraid to say something with fewer words. Spend your time searching for the right ones by using a dictionary, thesaurus, etc.

4. Be PATIENT. For all the words you write down that don't make sense, there will be that one page, paragraph, or sentence to make you say, "Ahhh! That's it!" Believe me, it's worth waiting for.

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Customer Reviews

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 36 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 3, 2007

    What can I say?

    wow. my freind had the book and i had to borrow it i had to! this book is a wonderful, exciting fiction !!! i loved it and i hope you love it as much as i did!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 9, 2007

    Greater Than Great

    I just started getting into these books but they are better than words!!! I'm now reading the second Madison Finn Boy Oh Boy and it is as good as the first!!!!! Keep up the GREAT work Laura Dower!!!!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 14, 2007

    The Best Book Ever

    I found this book outstanding. It had good details and dialog.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 28, 2006

    Awesome

    I loved this book because I can relate to the characters. It can happen in real life which I love when that happens. I read all the books in the series so far. You have to read this book or your missing out on a very intresting book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 2, 2006

    Good

    This is a very good book! I love it. It is for ages 8-12. It is very good for girls who are going threw parent's divorces and girls who love to read and go on computer!!!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 22, 2005

    Madsion finn is the 'it girl' for this perfect story

    I like this book alot. It makes me feel connected like as if I know her already. She is unsure of herself but is trying to find out who she is. I like this book alot. I would recommend this book to anyone one who's 9 through 12!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 23, 2005

    THIS IS SUCH A GOOD BOOK!!!!!!!!!!!

    I LOVE this book!!!! Laura Dower writes it soooo well! I just couldn't put it down! all the books in the series are GREAT!! I read all of them and now I'm making my friends read it. I can't wait until 19 comes out!!!!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 22, 2005

    What a great book this is!!!

    I read this book and honestly LOVED it! I read it every night, until i finished it that is. At school, I couldn't seem to keep my mind off of it, and to stop myself from wanting to know what would happen next. At home, i couldn't seem to keep my mind off of it! I couldn't seem to stop reading, until the last and final page. I truly loved this book and all of the other books in the series that I have read so far.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 24, 2005

    Great Before School Read

    This is a great book for any normal pre-teen girl. It was really good and I would recommend it to y'all girly girl book fans.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 21, 2005

    Only the Lonely: From the Files of Madison Finn Series #1

    Out of all the books, I think this one is my absolute favorite. Big props to Laura Dower! :)

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 9, 2005

    great book!!!

    great book! i think every girl who is between 9-12 should read this book because you will love it!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 25, 2005

    Only the Lonely: From the Files of Madison Finn Series #1

    I love this book SO MUCH! I read it everywhere I went. I even got Hot Coco on some of the pages on those chilly days!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 29, 2004

    MadFinn Rules!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Only the Lonely is one of the best book i have read. You shoud read it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 29, 2004

    Bravo! Bravo!!

    This book was the first book I've read by Laura Dower and it just blew me away. I love reading diary books and this was included in my list. It was awesome! Laura Dower knows how to write!!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 17, 2004

    BEST BOOK EVER!!!!!!

    I have read every single book in the madison finn series and they are the best books that i have ever come across. Laura Dower writes so wonderfully. Madison Finn is in seventh grade and everything is so like real life! I always get these books done in a day because the minute i start reading i can not put the book down! Order the whole series because once you finish one, you are going to want to read all of the other books!AMAZING STORIES!!!!!!!!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 27, 2004

    LOVED IT !!!!!!!

    THIS BOOK IS SOO EXCITING IT IS THE ONLY BOOK I LIKE SOO MUCH

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 6, 2003

    I LOVE THIS BOOK!!

    this book is the best!! i swear i am just like madison!! if you think you are just like madison finn too e-mail me! i am readin the 6th one right now!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 13, 2003

    Only the Lonely: From the Files of Madison Finn Series #1

    This is a great book out of a great new series about a twelve-year-old girl's life. Madison Finn is trying to survive the summer without her bestfriends. Aimee's at ballet camp and Egg's at computer camp, leaving Madison home, only the lonely...Until one day Maddie meets a girl her age in a chatroom on her favorite website. They talk, get to know eachother and then become keypals. Then a new girl named Fiona Waters moves into Maddie's hometown. So far Fiona seems like an awesome girl who's wicked nice! The only problem is, Madison is questioning wether to really befriend Fiona or not. Will she be a bad friend to Aimee and Egg for making a new one?

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 30, 2003

    THIS BOOK IS AWESOME~!

    This book is GREAT just like all the other MadFinn books. Laura Dower is great and so are all her books. This is about a girl who is about to go into seventh grade and is confused about herself and her friends but it ends up good for her! Its something every preteen can relate to and it actually could happen to anyone. Shes a regular girl that likes everything us girls do, guys, books, computers,friends, shopping, music and of course ORANGE!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 19, 2003

    *-*-@ WOW!@-*-*

    this book is so cool. i love how it keeps switching from Maddie's computer 2 her real life. i have read books 1 and 2, and now i'm reading 3. anyone who loves these books, please email me at the address shown!

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 36 Customer Reviews

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