Michael R. French’s
WOW! WOMEN ON WRITING TOUR
The Beginner’s Guide to Winning an Election
• Paperback: 272 pages
• Publisher: 2018907650 (November 25, 2018)
• Language: English
• ISBN-10: 1732511705
• ISBN-13: 978-1732511705
Amazon Link: click here
The Beginner’s Guide to Winning an Election
The year is 2025. The United States is afflicted with global cyber attacks, economic crashes, foreign wars, and lots of anxiety. State budgets for public schools are hit hard . In a student body president race in a small city Indiana high school, popular, charismatic Matthew has his own consultants, bloggers, oppo researchers, and funds from an unidentified source that have helped him win every election since ninth grade.
Over-achieving, introverted Britain is a novice to elections, but as a history wonk, politics fascinate her. She also has a crush on Matthew. After she joins his SBP team, someone hacks Matthew’s website, leaking stories that the candidate is far from the Eagle Scout he pretends to be. Matthew and his team of 15 call the stories “spineless lies.”
Britain is stunned when she’s scapegoated by Matthew as the mystery hacker. Kids dump on her for betraying the school leader. Her reputation in shreds, she decides to enter the presidential race to clear her name. No one gives the novice a chance, but that only makes Britain more determined to find a way to win.
With the help of her three good friends, “No more secrets” becomes Team Britain’s slogan. For a while she stumbles in her campaign, until the anonymous hacker begins leaving notes in Britain’s locker, telling her which rocks to look under if she wants to beat odds-on favorite Matthew. She puzzles over who exactly is helping her—her favorite history teacher, an apostate on Team Matthew, or one of the many “undecideds” that impact any election?
Every mystery solved leads Brit to face a more complicated challenge, some threatening her existence…
Book Review by Crystal J. Casavant-Otto
I was drawn in to The Beginner’s Guide to Winning an Election right from the beginning. There were a couple things that pulled me in as a reader:
*French’s descriptive writing made me “see” Brit as if I were watching the story unfold on the big screen.
*Brit’s character was one every student can relate to – this may be a futuristic novel, but the scenarios could take place today (or 20 years ago when I was in school). I particularly related to the feelings of loss and peer pressure surrounding Brit’s very first campaign.
*I was drawn to the story from the very beginning, but the fast-pace kept me engaged throughout.
There were pearls of wisdom I gathered while enjoying the adventure – wisdom such as:
• Be careful not to let someone else’s attacks define you before you define yourself. (84)
• Fighting back through positivity is the only way to fight back – though you can never silence the haters completely. (94)
• Being clever and persistent are admirable. (119)
• The whisper of truth ultimately is louder than the roar of deception. (198)
• Most battles worth fighting were ultimately waged in the trenches. (260)
I love that Brit encountered the same types of troubles our teens today do – bullying, social media, cyberspace, finances, etc… and this story is expertly woven and tremendously believable. I admire Brit’s drive (med school, the election, etc…) and how she gives her whole self to everything she does. I imagine the author, Michael R. French, is much like his main character in The Beginner’s Guide to Winning an Election. This book is well written and the editing is spot on. I can’t say I found any errors at all! Similarly, there were no parts of the story where I felt the pace slowed. I was truly engaged from cover to cover. I would definitely recommend this book to others (including my middle school readers).
About the Author:
Michael R. French graduated from Stanford University where he was an English major, focusing on creative writing, and studied under Wallace Stegner. He received a Master's degree in journalism from Northwestern University. He later served in the United States Army before marrying Patricia Goodkind, an educator and entrepreneur, and starting a family.
In addition to publishing over twenty titles, including award-winning young adult fiction, adult fiction, biographies ad self-help books, he has written or co-written a half-dozen screenplays, including Intersection, which has won awards in over twenty film festivals. He has also had a long business career in real estate, living in Santa Fe, New Mexico. His passions include travel, collecting rare books, and hanging with friends and family. He describes his worst traits as impatience and saying "no" too quickly; his best are curiosity, taking risks, and learning from failure.
French’s work, which includes several best-sellers, has been warmly reviewed in the New York Timesand been honored with a number of literary prizes.
“Michael French has penned a fascinating, fast-paced, futuristic story about a determined high school senior named Brit who runs an against-all-odds campaign for student body president. There are scenarios that bedevil the imagination: dirty tricks, cyber and other tech attacks, love intrigues, and a picture of how the personal growth of one individual can shape a collective future. As a politician with several elections under my belt, I couldn’t put the novel down.”
--Governor Bill Richardson
Former member of Congress, US Ambassador to the United Nations, US Secretary of Energy, and Governor of NM
“Politics and kids. Michael R. French knows them in everyday life and in high school. Politics squeeze the kids, and the kids squeeze back. What happens matters in the hearts and minds of young people as well as in the larger world that shapes us all. This is a smart novel with vision, and a story full of feeling.”
Author of Hero, Fool, and Beauty,a Wall Street JournalFavorite Book
“If you like cheering for an underdog and savor a complex, exciting story that seems to spring from today’s events, you’ll love The Beginner’s Guide to Winning an Election. We could use more real heroes like Brit, the leading character in Michael R. French’s newest novel. She’s a young woman with tremendous tenacity and a strong moral compass who rises above her innate shyness to make a difference in her world.”
Author of the New York Timesbest-selling Leaphorn/Chee/Manuelito mystery series
“Michael R. French weaves a frighteningly plausible tale of political and educational corruption and gives us a heroine worthy of exploring, uncovering, and confronting it. Like all great heroes, she stumbles into her quest but then grows into knowing the power of honesty, principles, truth, and teamwork in pursuing it. This is a novel for anyone who honors history, idealism, and courage in the face of our country’s current political, economic, educational, and moral challenges.”
Author of Dead Birds Singing, A Sunburned Prayer, and Heart of a Jaguar
“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.”
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.”
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.”
#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
Find Michael Online:
----------Blog Tour Dates
Launch Day – February 25th
Michael R. French returns to WOW! Women on Writing for his tour of "The Beginner’s Guide to Winning an Election” with an interview and giveaway at the Muffin!
Tuesday, February 26th @ Linda Appleman Shapiro
Linda Appleman Shapiro reads and reviews the latest bestseller by Michael R. French. Don’t miss this chance to learn more about “The Beginner’s Guide to Winning an Election”!
Wednesday, February 27th @ Bring on Lemons with Carmen Otto
Middle Schooler Carmen Otto offers her thoughts after reading “The Beginner’s Guide to Winning an Election” by Michael R. French. Readers won’t want to miss this chance to hear from Carmen and learn more about this excellent YA novel!
Thursday, February 28th @ Bella Donna’s Books with Dawn Thomas
Dawn Thomas reviews “The Beginner’s Guide to Winning an Election” for readers of Bella Donna’s Books. You’ll delight to learn more about Michael R. French and his exciting new work!
Friday, March 1st @ Fiona Ingram
Fellow author Fiona Ingram spotlights the latest novel by Michael R. French. Readers will delight to learn more about “The Beginner’s Guide to Winning an Election”!
Saturday, March 2nd @ Author Anthony Avina
Author Anthony Avina has fellow author Michael R. French in today’s spotlight with a guest post by French and more information about the bestseller “The Beginner’s Guide to Winning an Election”.
Tuesday, March 5th @ Breakeven Books
Today’s Author Spotlight at Breakeven Books is a bestseller by Michael R. French. Readers will delight as they learn more about “The Beginner’s Guide to Winning an Election”!
Wednesday, March 6th @ Coffee with Lacey
Lacey reviews “The Beginner’s Guide to Winning an Election” by Michael R. French. Grab a cup of coffee and join Lacey for an enjoyable review of this delightful novel!
Thursday, March 7th @ Sreevarsha Sreejith
Sreevarsha reviews Michael R. French’s latest novel – a YA work titled “The Beginner’s Guide to Winning an Election”. Don’t miss Sreevarsha’s insight and thoughts!
Friday, March 8th @ Choices with Madeline Sharples
Madeline Sharples reviews the enjoyable YANovel “The Beginner’s Guide to Winning an Election” by Michael R. French. Readers and Choices won’t want to miss this opportunity to hear what Madeline thinks about this book.
Wednesday, March 13th @ Selling Books with Cathy Stucker
Cathy interviews Michael R. French about his latest novel “The Beginner’s Guide to Winning an Election”.
Tuesday, March 19th @ Bring on Lemons with the Hansen Girls
Cathy Hansen along with her two teen daughters offer their thoughts about “The Beginner’s Guide to Winning an Election” by Michael R. French.
Thursday, March 21st @ World of My Imagination
Nicole Pyles loves YANovels and is excited to share her review of “The Beginner’s Guide to Winning an Election” by Michael R. French.