“A wise, provocative novel about an Indiana high school student body election in a 2025 post-Orwellian universe. A political novice, a science whiz named Britain, is surprisingly motivated to take on the establishment favorite, who may not be who he claims to be. Here Michael French, one of today’s greatest writers for young adults, gives us a realistic page turner with complex themes that intrigues adults, too.”
—Barbara Beasley Murphy
Award-winning author of Ace Hits the Big Time and Miguel Lost & Found in the Palace
“The Beginner’s Guide to Winning an Election, a captivating novel, follows the story of Britain, a senior in high school who runs a daring campaign for student body president in the year 2026. The brilliance of this work is that wrapped into its easy-to-follow and easily relatable narrative are deep political and socioeconomic messages that can be foundational in understanding politics and also offer new perspective on the current status of US politics. I recommend this incredibly engaging book for readers thirteen and up, and even schools that wish to teach students more about the high privilege and honor it is to be able to vote and have a political voice in our country.”
—Gerry Orz Award-winning filmmaker, youth activist, and author of Lucky or Not, Here I Come
“For high school history, civics, and political science teachers who want to help their students understand the political process on a much larger stage, this highly readable page turner has it all—candidate messaging using social media, hidden agendas, opponent bashing, fake news, and even dark money. I highly recommend this compelling book as an effective teaching tool.”
—Leslie Carpenter Former teacher, principal, and superintendent of Santa Fe Public Schools
“An inspirational novel, A Beginner’s Guide to Winning an Election examines America’s broken political system through the lens of a student body presidential election at a midwestern high school. From the issue of dark money’s influence on our elections to convincing the habitual nonvoter to vote, author French weaves an emotional tale of an underdog’s efforts to win the election and save her school’s integrity. For those losing hope in America, this book is a must read.” —Bruce Berlin, JD
Author of Breaking Big Money’s Grip on America and president of New Mexicans for Money Out of Politics
“The Beginner’s Guide to Winning an Election is a heartfelt and moving story with vivid characters and a realistic, near-future setting. I highly recommend this novel of courage, honesty, duplicity, and the corrupting influence of private interests in public education—a wonderful book that deserves a wide audience.” —Douglas Preston
#1 New York Timesbestselling author of The Lost City of the Monkey God
“We have a saying at our high school’s model legislature: ‘Democracy is not a spectator sport.’ Michael R. French’s poignant new novel demonstrates that adage through Brit Kitridge, a high school senior who finds her political voice and clarifies her future by challenging her school’s beloved principal. I hope this book inspires more students to get involved in politics and public service by doing the same—speaking up.”
High school AP government and politics teacher, and
co-sponsor of Model Legislature/Youth in Government
A terrific book...
I am a fan of Michael French's writing, and his newest book, "Once Upon A Lie" is a welcome addition to my collection. There is great intelligence and originality to this plot and in the richly realised characters whose complicated lives intersect in an entirely fresh way.I so respect the intelligence and real craft of the writing of this very absorbing tale.it is a terrific book, and for those of us who really love to read, it is a rare treat to spend time with these characters. I loved it.
I read a lot of books...
by SageA on Barnes and Noble
I read a lot of books and I can't remember the last time a book has left me with so many feelings. Michael French is a wonderful writer. I felt he really placed me into the scenes. I found myself cringing through some of the encounters Jaleel faced as a young black man. It hurt my heart. And while Alex comes from an extremely privileged family, I did like her very much. She maintained compassion and humility throughout the novel.
These two characters connect in a super emotional way. Through drama and corruption, they both stay together and grow with each other. Alex faces just as much pain as Jaleel which I think shows despite where you come from, everyone faces similar trials.
I appreciate that the author didn't end this deep story in a happily ever after kind of way. It feels real. It haunts you in the best way possible.
By Nadine Chucri
I was fortunate to be one of the lucky people to receive an advanced copy of the book to review. As I have never read anything of Michael’s before I was really glad to discover a new author.
Suffice to say that I do not think I have read anything like Once Upon a Lie in a long long time. It was quite simply an uber fascinating page-turner.
Fast Paced Read
By William on Amazon
A fast-paced read. Scene by scene is deftly drawn. Parallel narratives of two intertwining lives assess 1980s America in terms of social justice and family ties. Layers of faith, betrayal, love & murder are peeled away by the young protagonist.
Never A Dull Moment
By Stormy Nights Reviewing and Blogging
Right here was just what I have been needing the past week for a good read. Fast paced and never a dull moment. Easy to follow story line with amazing characters. Not sure if I want to classify it as a thriller or a mystery... But either way I loved this book!
The Reconstruction of Wilson Ryder is about and for artists, written by an artist. But it is more than that. It is a beautifully written novel for everybody who has struggled to transcend the conscious and unconscious wounds invariably inflicted on children by their parents. That would be all of us. Wilson Ryder's story compels us to look in the mirror and, without flinching, to ask who we are and what gives our lives meaning. Complicated, tender, wise, funny, heartbreaking, infuriating, and, ultimately, life affirming.
ByGery G. Ruddickon
I read The Reconstruction of Wilson Ryder about five months ago and have been intending all this time to sit down and write a review about an amazingly wonderful book it is. I loved the originality of the characters and themes. Was very impressed with the depth and understanding the author has of the art world. Was in awe of his writing. I've been recommending this book to all my friends.
A very enjoyable read
I loved Wilson Ryder. He stole my heart. How he dealt with his disfigurement and navigated is way through his life with such courage and hope. He made me look at my own life in a much different way. He will remain a beloved character in my heart and someone I will always remember fondly. I loved this book and will recommend it to everyone who cares enough to listen. Well-written and believable. I'm no expert on literature but I know what I like and I couldn't wait for my next opportunity to sit and delve into this character's next adventure. I was sorry to see the period at the end of the very last page. I wanted more. So much more. Bravo to the author. Thank you for bringing this complicated character to life.
Ranks up there with To kill a Mockingbird
This book ranks right up there with To Kill a Mockingbird. Has this yet been nominated for any literary awards such as the Pulitzer or Booker Prize?
I received this book for free from a Goodreads giveaway. I have not been compensated for this review.
Oh my God! I want to read this book over and over and over again! The only other book I feel the same way about is Harper Lee's "To Kill a Mockingbird."
A touch of Holden Caulfield, a smidge of Phillip Pirrip and a dash of Jean Louise "Scout" Finch. And let's not forget to throw in Miss Havisham as the distant mother figure. If I can be so egomaniacal to assume that the author snuck into my life and wrote a novel based on my self-perception, he could not have done better than this book. This is truly a masterpiece of character development.
READ THIS BOOK! If you can only read a limited number of books this year, this one should be at the top of your list. By page four, I was thoroughly invested in the characters. I normally have to give a book until page fifty to see if I will stick with it.
I am cautious to say much, because I want the reader to experience the full story for the first time by reading it like I did. I guarantee you will not be disappointed.