Hickey, Caroline 1976(?)- (Caroline Hunter Smith)

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Hickey, Caroline 1976(?)- (Caroline Hunter Smith)

PERSONAL:

Born c. 1976, in Baltimore, MD; married Michael Hickey. Education: James Madison University, B.A., 1997; New School University, M.F. A., 2005. Hobbies and other interests: Writing, books, New York City, running, and Maryland crabs.

ADDRESSES:

Home—Washington, DC. E-mail—[email protected]linehickey.com.

CAREER:

Writer.

WRITINGS:

Cassie Was Here, Roaring Brook Press (New Milford, CT), 2007.

Maintains a blog with other children's book writers, The Longstockings: For the Love of Pippi (and All Things Children's Books).

SIDELIGHTS:

Caroline Hickey grew up in Baltimore, Maryland, with a love of reading and writing English papers. She went on to major in English literature at James Madison University. After earning her degree, she moved to New York City, where she attempted various careers before realizing that she was going to have to give writing a chance. She enrolled first in a writing workshop and eventually earned her M.F.A. from the New School University, graduating in 2005. Soon after graduating, she married her husband, Michael, moved to Washington, DC, and sold a manuscript. Her first book, Cassie Was Here, is a middle-grade novel and was published in 2007. In an interview on her home page, Hickey explains why she decided to write for a younger audience: "Because it's FUN! Also because I think children are very absorbent and attentive readers. By the time one has become a stodgy adult (like myself), one's ideas about the world are pretty well formed, and books make less of an impression."

Cassie Was Here tells the story of eleven-year-old Bree, who moves to a new town with her family over the summer and finds herself feeling scared and lonely in her new environment. In an effort to comfort herself, Bree resurrects Joey, an imaginary friend from when she was small, to offer her unconditional support as she navigates the dangerous waters of her new neighborhood. However, she soon meets Cassie, a thirteen-year-old in town to visit with her grandmother, and Cassie's more worldly, sophisticated personality prompts a conflict for Bree: does she cling to childhood, or risk venturing into a more adult world? Pressure from her relationship with her older brother makes Bree's situation that much more difficult, particularly when he and Cassie start to develop a relationship. In a review for Horn Book, Lelac Almagor commented that "Bree's voice is the strength of this … novel: … her moodiness makes her an unusually compelling narrator." Ilene Cooper, reviewing for Booklist, remarked upon Hickey's obvious first-novel cautions, but in general praised her effort, stating that her "keen eye for kids and their interpersonal relationships will serve her well in books to come." A reviewer for Publishers Weekly wrote that "an imaginary friend to illustrate Bree's vulnerability is spot-on—ideal for revealing how scary it is to be alone in an unfamiliar place." A contributor for Kirkus Reviews dubbed the book an "engaging exploration of friendship," and D. Maria LaRocco, in a review for School Library Journal, commented that "the plot remains steady with enough happening to sustain interest."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Booklist, January 1, 2007, Ilene Cooper, review of Cassie Was Here, p. 102.

Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, June, 2007, Deborah Stevenson, review of Cassie Was Here, p. 419.

Horn Book, March-April, 2007, Lelac Almagor, review of Cassie Was Here, p. 193.

Kirkus Reviews, March 1, 2007, review of Cassie Was Here, p. 223.

Library Media Connection, August, 2007, Ann Cazin, review of Cassie Was Here, p. 68.

Publishers Weekly, March 19, 2007, review of Cassie Was Here, p. 64.

School Library Journal, July, 2007, D. Maria LaRocco, review of Cassie Was Here, p. 104.

Voice of Youth Advocates, June, 2007, Alice F. Stern, review of Cassie Was Here, p. 142.

ONLINE

Caroline Hickey Home Page,http://carolinehickey.com (December 8, 2007).

Caroline Hickey MySpace Page,http://www.myspace.com/carolinehickey (December 8, 2007).

Slayground Blog,http://slayground.livejournal.com/ (July 10, 2007), interview with Caroline Hickey.