July in August

One Girl's Struggles with an Opioid Addicted Mother

by Maryjo Paradis-Smith

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83,164 words
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Twelve-year-old July Krativitiz lives in Maplewood, New Hampshire with her adorable two-year-old brother, Abe, and her drug-addicted mother. July's life is complicated. Her mother is often too stoned to care for her little brother. So July must either stay home to protect him or pray for his safety when she is at school.

Mary White, an elderly neighbor, offers help. But when Mrs. White discovers what's going on with July's mother, she takes some very drastic actions. For one thing, she kidnaps the children to a faraway lake house where she knows they will be safe, safe, safe. July soon realizes Mrs. White is not the kindly neighbor she believed her to be.

Then Abe’s father, Roger, comes to pick up his little boy for their weekend visit. He understands something is wrong as he is climbing the stairs as it is eerily quiet and smells of rotten potatoes. When he enters the apartment he finds July’s mom dead on the floor with no sign of the children.

Roger embarks on a journey to find July, Abe, and their mom’s killer.

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Story Elements

Ratings Factors

Language: Minor profanity used occasionally
Sexual Content: Sexual acts implied but not described
Target Audience Age/Stage of Life: 13-17 (Young adult)
Violence: Death, but minimal violence


Geography: New Hampshire
Realism: Consistent with real world, no magic, no unachieved science
Setting Type: Pastoral (rural & small towns)
Time Period: 2010 - 2019

Main Character

Age: Tween
Gender: Female
Race: Caucasian European
Religion: Irrelevant
Sexual Preference: Heterosexual

Styles & Themes

Humor: Moments of levity
Inspires Reader to Feel: Uneasy/Tense
Mysteries & Puzzles: Modest mystery element(s) to story
Pacing: Moves quickly
Physical Action: Frequent action, driven by threat to safety or life by antagonist(s)
Political/Social Commentary: Politics play a minor role
Romance: Minor romance, not a significant story driver


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About the author

Maryjo Paradis-Smith

Maryjo Paradis-Smith is a retired teacher from Barrington, New Hampshire who has written novels about the problems facing today's adolescents. Currently, Maryjo has three grown daughters and six grandchildren. She lives with her husband, Tom and their two cats Rico and Deigo.