ABOUT THE BOOK
The Metamorphosis of Emma Murry
Written by Rebecca Laxton
Illustrated by Gracie Laxton
Ages 10+ | 252 Pages
Publisher: Warren Publishing, Inc | ISBN-13: 9781960146236
Publisher’s Book Summary: Thirteen-year-old Emma Murry has three goals for summer vacation: finish her art terms project, land an ollie, and help the environmental club save the monarchs.
But then her Instagram crush Jeb Scott and his celebrity dad Chester make a surprise visit to Black Mountain. At first, Emma is thrilled, but then she overhears their plans to destroy the monarch butterfly garden to build a ski resort. She and her best friend Sophie add a new summer goal: STOP. THE. SCOTTS.
Emma ignores Sophie’s warnings and makes friends with Jeb, convinced she can change his mind. Then when Chester receives a mysterious death threat, Emma teams up with Jeb to investigate. She slowly discovers people are not what they seem as she attempts to untangle friendships, organize a protest, and uncover supernatural secrets hiding on the mountain.
Emma will have to go through her own metamorphosis by overcoming her fears and facing what she dreads. If she fails, she could jeopardize everything—butterflies, friendships, and her family.
Emma and her friends in the Black Mountain Middle School Environmental Club have worked hard to plant shrubs and flowers that will support monarch butterflies along the Greenway in town. She and her best friend Sophie even asked for plants instead of presents at their most recent birthday because they are so dedicated to preventing the extinction of the monarchs. So when they learn that a celebrity is planning to purchase land in the area and build a ski resort that will negatively impact the Greenway and the butterfly garden, they spring into action. Flyers, a petition, a presentation at the city council meeting…these teens are determined to protect the beauty of their town. Middle school is a time of change - of metamorphosis - one might say. Emma and her companions are dealing with possible changes to their beloved butterfly garden and town, changes in their friendships, how to include new arrivals, disagreements on how to approach townsfolk to gain their support, whether to believe local legends or not, etc. The story captures that feeling of uncertainty, of worrying that friends are finding new interests or even new “besties,” and the flustered nature of first crushes. I especially enjoyed the way that art terms were used to start off each chapter. Emma is keeping an art journal over the summer and must create an image to exemplify balance, line, contrast and other terms. Those same terms can be seen at work within the chapters. For instance, Emma associates a particular “color” with each person she knows, while the girls learn that their fathers have different ideas of the “value” of the ski resort being built. This is a great book for middle grade readers who enjoy stories of teamwork, environmental awareness, artistic projects, and the ins and outs of friendship.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Rebecca Laxton has served school communities as an afterschool program director, reading specialist, and school psychologist. While working for Boone County Schools, she was named the Kentucky School Psychologist of the Year for collaborating with teachers and administrators to write and evaluate an emotional intelligence curriculum.
Rebecca is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, Charlotte Literary Arts, and the North Carolina Writers Association. Her short memoir, “Throw Like a Girl,” about playing on a mostly boys Little League team can be found in The Love of Baseball (McFarland 2017). Currently, she is a dyslexia practitioner and enjoys reading, writing and spending time in the Blue Ridge Mountains with her husband, four kids, and three dogs.
Rebecca invites you to visit her online at www.rebeccalaxton.com.
ABOUT THE ILLUSTRATOR
Gracie Laxton is a freelance graphic designer and dance choreographer from North Carolina but is currently based in New York City. A 2021 graduate of Central Academy of Technology and Arts in Monroe, NC, she studied art as part of The Savannah College of Art and Design’s high school joint enrollment program. Currently, she attends Marymount Manhattan College, pursuing degrees in dance and art.