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Destiny, Rewritten
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Destiny, Rewritten

4.6 6
by Kathryn Fitzmaurice

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This sweet contemporary story about poetry, family, and determining your own destiny is perfect for fans of books by Wendy Mass, Joan Bauer, Sharon Creech, and Rebecca Stead.

Eleven-year-old Emily Elizabeth Davis has never met her father, so when a book of poetry with his name in it goes missing, Emily and her friends search all over their hometown of Berkeley,


This sweet contemporary story about poetry, family, and determining your own destiny is perfect for fans of books by Wendy Mass, Joan Bauer, Sharon Creech, and Rebecca Stead.

Eleven-year-old Emily Elizabeth Davis has never met her father, so when a book of poetry with his name in it goes missing, Emily and her friends search all over their hometown of Berkeley, California, hoping to track it down. Meanwhile, even though her English-professor mother insists that Emily is destined to become a poet (she named her after Emily Dickinson!), Emily secretly corresponds with her idol, romance writer Danielle Steel.

As Publishers Weekly says, "Fitzmaurice's story deftly mingles Dickinson, Danielle Steel, a budding crush, and protesting tree sitters while maintaining suspense that leads to a satisfying ending."

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Fitzmaurice (A Diamond in the Desert) explores fate and destiny with a light yet thoughtful touch in this novel about sixth-grader Emily, named by her free-spirit mother after Emily Dickinson. Emily’s mother is sure that her daughter’s destiny is tied to the famous writer’s and that she will be a great poet (she even commemorates the important moments of Emily’s life in a first edition of Dickinson’s poetry). Emily, however, thrives on predictability and order, and has no feel for poetry—though she is obsessed with romantic novels’ happy endings, since she is searching for one: finding her unknown father, whose identity her mother has never disclosed. Just as Emily learns his name is hidden in the Dickinson book, it is accidentally taken and Emily sets out to find it, challenging her mother’s belief that things should “unfold in their natural course.” Aptly set amid the hippie ambiance of Berkeley, Calif., and peopled by offbeat, but believable characters, Fitzmaurice’s story deftly mingles Dickinson, Danielle Steel, a budding crush, and protesting tree sitters while maintaining suspense that leads to a satisfying ending. Ages 9–12. Agent: Jennifer Rofé, Andrea Brown Literary Agency. (Mar.)
Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
“Emily’s exploration of fate is intriguingly presented, and a happy ending comes about through both Emily’s choices and pure luck, leaving readers with the pleasantly paradoxical idea that fate is both beyond and within one’s control...Emily is a strong and likable heroine.”
Kirkus Reviews
Sixth-grader Emily Davis, destined to be a poet like her namesake, discovers that she can help the hand of fate. Emily doesn't like poetry very much. She'd rather be a different kind of writer. Her single mother chose her name from a book she'd purchased the day before Emily's birth. Alongside Emily Dickinson's poems, she wrote important happenings from her daughter's life. But the very day Emily learns that one of those notes contains her father's name, the book accidentally goes to Goodwill. Her efforts to find it again and learn her father's name serve as the scaffolding for this first-person coming-of-age story set in Berkeley, Calif., during the 2006-08 oak grove controversy. Longing to complete her family, Emily actually practices composing happy endings for romance novels. With the help of best friend, Wavey St. Clair, and soldier-wannabe cousin Mortie, she haunts used bookstores. Some surprising coincidences and her new practice of doing the unexpected--to leave room for chance--lead to a very happy ending indeed. There's a proto-romance with classmate Connor Kelly, attention paid to environmental issues and some interesting poetry, but the focus is squarely on Emily's growing self-determination. Emotionally, her story rings true. Readers will applaud Emily's newfound understanding of the workings of destiny and might even follow her lead. (Fiction. 9-13)
Children's Literature - Joyce Rice
When Emily was born, her mother bought a book of poetry by Emily Dickinson and recorded her birth. Every major event in Emily's life was noted in The Book, next to a poem written by Emily Dickinson. It only seemed natural to accept her mother's prophecy that one day she would be a great poet. However, Emily's destiny takes her on an adventure of discovery that shows her other open doors. Shortly after losing The Book to a charity drive, Emily discovers that her mother also noted in the book a very important part of Emily's history, which was the name of her father. Emily's mother always told her that destiny would reveal the name of her father when it was time for her to know it. Now, Emily begins to have doubts about her destiny to be a poet, if destiny has indeed taken away her knowledge of her father. As Emily begins to search secondhand stores for the missing book, she begins to explore her feelings and thoughts about destiny. Her new understanding will help her to rewrite her own destiny and that of her family. Author Fitzmaurice was an elementary school teacher before becoming a full-time writer. Readers in this age group will find her stories to be interesting, entertaining, and memorable. Her characters will stay with readers as they relate to the problems and situations. Emily's search for her own identity will speak to readers in this age group. The search for her unknown father is delivered in a positive light, unlike many stories that make the missing father a negative influence. This is a recommended title for all upper elementary and middle school collections. Reviewer: Joyce Rice
School Library Journal
Gr 5–7—Eleven-year-old Emily Elizabeth Davis's flighty mother reveals that Emily's rare volume of Emily Dickinson's poetry not only embodies her destiny to become a great poet, but also contains the name of Emily's unknown father scribbled somewhere in the margins. Unfortunately, Emily loses the book. Thus begins the plucky girl's search through Berkeley to find the lost collection, a series of adventures that force her to examine her beliefs about destiny, romance, and self-determination. Fitzmaurice creates a believable and relatable protagonist, but also develops funny secondary characters-including tree-dwelling environmentalists; a military-obsessed younger cousin; a faithful and smart best friend; and, of course, her scatter-brained, English professor mother. A clean, safe, child-friendly version of Berkeley features prominently. Fitzmaurice finds ways for Emily to evaluate different attitudes about fate through the many pages of this long book, especially via clever discussions about and references to Laura Ingalls Wilder, Danielle Steel, Star Wars, and many other cultural or literary elements. A sweet book that should appeal to fans of Wendy Mass, Joan Bauer, Sharon Creech, and the like.—Rhona Campbell, Georgetown Day School, Washington, DC

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
5.52(w) x 7.22(h) x 1.16(d)
810L (what's this?)
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

Meet the Author

Kathryn Fitzmaurice once received a book that was inscribed with the prediction that she might become a famous poet like Emily Dickinson. She became a writer for young readers instead, and her very first novel, The Year the Swallows Came Early, has received many honors and accolades. She lives in Monarch Beach, California, with her husband, sons, and faithful canine writing companion, Holly.

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Destiny, Rewritten 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
book4children More than 1 year ago
I always love reading books set in the part of the country that I live in. I live in the south Bay Area near San Francisco, and this book takes place just north of me. The premise of the book is really interesting, and I enjoyed the story of Emily trying to navigate life. Her eccentric mother and cousin are entertaining and gave the book some humor. While I didn't fall madly in love with this book, I did enjoy it. It was a sweet, contemporary story that most young readers would like. The Cover: I absolutely love this cover. It caught my eye from a huge list of books. I am a big sucker for a good cover and this one promises adventure, mystery, and something a little other-worldly. My only issue with the cover is the cat. I spent the entire span of the book waiting for this cat to show up and it never does. By the looks of the illustration, it would seem that this cat plays a significant role in the book, but there is no cat in the story.
Morganjs More than 1 year ago
This is a great middle grade book. It has some elements of mystery, but without being creepy or scary at all. There were a few different "mysteries" happening throughout the book. It kept it interesting throughout, and I never got bored. I think this would be a great book for both boys and girls.  The only thing was the constant talk about Destiny. This may confuse some children's current beliefs. Or they may not even understand any of the talk about destiny. It was kind of over the top at times.  I received this book for free in return for an honest review. 
KaylaBeck More than 1 year ago
You'll Want to Hug This Book I read this book over the holidays, and it's fitting. I knew that I had to be the Grinch because my heart grew two sizes the day I finished reading Destiny, Rewritten. It felt as if it would burst right out of my chest because I was felt with such overwhelming happiness and love for the characters, who are some of my all-time literary favorites. There is not one person in the book that I did not want to scoop up and squeeze into a bear hug. Destiny, Rewritten taught me something that I have been overlooking about myself - I LOVE stories that make references to other stories or pieces of pop culture. I found myself giggling several times throughout the book because of arguments that Emily Elizabeth Davis and Wavey St. Clair, her best friend, would have about female roles in Star Wars, Little House on the Prairie, or even paper towel commercials. This was a perfect little running joke (it has to be a joke because it was so hilarious!) to go along with Emily while she searched to find her lost book, unknown father, and herself. Emily's letters to Danielle Steele and love of romance novels' happy endings are also so brilliantly woven into the story. There are also tree-huggers, used bookstores, a cashier from Goodwill who is all things awesome, and more minor characters who kept me beaming. My absolute favorite part of the book, however, was that each child in the story was encouraged to be their very best at whatever they did. The children were supportive of each other, and not one of the adults ever treated any of them as anything less than the intelligent, nerdy, brilliant balls of potential they were. Yes, there are bullies and adults telling kids "There's no way you can do that!" in the real world, but there are so many people who are the polar opposite of that, and I think the book is a lovely homage to them. Cecily Ann likes to give science reports in poem form, but no one really gives her a hard time. Montie is an eight year old little boy who is counting the days until he can join the army, but nothing is said to dissuade his dreams or soldier-in-training behavior. Connor Kelly, Emily's crush, even had an entire conversation with her in haiku during English class. I seriously want to live in their neighborhood and be friends with all of them. This is far and away one of the best books that I read in 2012. Yes, it is contemporary (which I usually avoid), but Destiny, Rewritten is full of the magic of innocence and childhood. It reminds us that it's okay to be yourself, it's okay to chase your dreams, and sometimes your happy ending is where you least expect it. To satisfy FTC guidelines, I am disclosing that I received a digital ARC of the book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This has in no way affected the outcome of my review. All opinions expressed are rambling, honest, and completely my own.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I ordered this book. Hope its good!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great book hard to get hooked on it. But still good.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great book! Can't believe nobodys rating this!