How Not to Cry in Public & Other Victories

How Not to Cry in Public & Other Victories whisks the reader from New York to Thailand to Las Vegas as 17-year-old Brenna forges the journey of a life-time in search of her birth parents. The clues she must follow require her to both hide and to reveal, never knowing in advance what the consequences will be.

The Story:

When Brenna Walker suffers a devastating emancipation her senior year of high school, she sets off on an undercover search for her missing relatives.

Over a series of visits with her mother Brenna asks the name of her birth father and why her uncle raised her. Meanwhile, hoping her mother will help her, Brenna continues the hunt for family members, arranging to meet them incognito so as to ascertain why her uncle didn’t want her to know them, or if he didn’t want them to know her. When the evidence doesn’t add up, and without a reliable guide, Brenna makes mistakes in judgment that cost her dearly.

During the year’s journey, a handful of temporary jobs, some amazing cousins, and a summer romance take Brenna to an explosive family reunion where she sees everyone’s true colors.

Open the first chapter of the book for free. Ch One – How Not to Cry in Public & Other Victories

The Cousin Cycle:

How Not to Cry in Public & Other Victories is the fourth book (in terms of the age of the protagonist) in The Cousin Cycle, although they can be read in any order. These stories tell about a year when everything that can go wrong in the family, does go wrong. Don’t be surprised when the books’ narrators have individual and sometimes contradictory points of view. Who’s telling the truth?

Your Reading Group:

When you get together with friends to discuss a good book, it’s fun to have a jump-off place. Try these ideas to get the conversation off to a flying start!

Discussion Topics for How Not to Cry in Public & Other Victories

Music:

A unique aspect of Jean Stringam’s work is the song she writes for each book. She says that after living with her protagonists for many months, she begins to hear the song they sing. The song doesn’t match a particular scene in the story as often happens in musical theatre. Instead, think of the song as an expression of the character’s soul, the essence of the person.

in “Who Am I?” you can hear Brenna taking little short gasping breaths before she learns the technique of not crying, all written into the musical line.

Here’s a copy of the lyrics and piano accompaniment for Brenna’s song, Who Am I?

Back Cover:

How far will Brenna go to discover her family? They could be amazing, or they could be people she’s better off not knowing. When the evidence doesn’t add up, and without a reliable guide, Brenna makes mistakes in judgment that cost her dearly. Who knew hunting for birth parents could be hazardous to your health?

WHERE FICTION IS TRUE

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