'J.R. Silver Writes Her World' Book Club: Day 1

By: Shanleigh Klassen

“Using real life as inspiration was normal for an author. Altering real life through stories was not.”

Hello and welcome to day 1 of the OwlCrate Jr Book Club Read-Along for our July 2022 book, J.R. Silver Writes Her World by Melissa Dassori! Featured in our JUMP OFF THE PAGE box, J.R. discovers a peculiar power: The stories she writes come true! Follow along as we dive into J.R.’s story.

Our reading schedule for this book will be as follows:

  • Monday, August 15 — Chapters 1- 9
  • Thursday, August 18 — Chapters 10 - 19
  • Monday, August 22 — Chapters 20 - 31

This averages out to about 36 pages per day from now until next Monday. Feel free to read at your own pace and come back when you're ready to discuss.

Discussion questions are listed below, and anyone who participates in the comments will be entered to win a free OwlCrate Jr box, one per post! This read-along is open to comments until Friday, August 26.

Just a reminder that this will be a spoiler discussion for pages 1 - 82 of J.R. Silver Writes Her World, so spoilers ahead!

The Story Begins . . .

J.R. and Violet have been best friends forever, but Violet’s been glued to her phone talking to their classmate Ava ever since summer camp brought the two closer together. On the first day of school, J.R. meets her new teacher, Ms. Kline, who starts them off by having everyone select a cover of the long-running magazine Gothamite and write a story based on it. J.R. likes the assignment, wanting to be an author herself, she can’t help but notice just how close of friends Violet and Ava have become. It doesn’t help that Violet and Ava are now Walkers (allowed to walk home) whereas J.R. is still a Greeter (picked up by an adult).

At dinner that night, J.R. asks again if she can be a Walker like Violet, but both her parents still refuse. Later on, J.R. works on her Gothamite assignment and writes a story where a girl is nervous, yet excited to walk home from school by herself for the first time. The next day, after a pretty standard school day, J.R. is surprised when both Ms. Kline and Violet suddenly treat her like one of the Walkers. Bewildered, she joins Violet, Ava, and her two friends Aria and Adelaide on their walk home and even discovers she has enough money to join them for milkshakes — almost like this whole situation was planned out in advance.

As Violet heads off to orchestra rehearsal, Ava reminds her of their weekend plans much to J.R.’s dismay. J.R. continues home, passing June’s Books when the storeowner Mr. Richardson calls out to her. Apparently, she was supposed to check in with him before heading home. J.R. is now officially confused, but she remains a Walker for the rest of the week without incident while Violet heads off to Ava’s beach house for the weekend.

On Monday, J.R. invites Violet to check out a new exhibit at the Met, but Violet already has plans with Ava and Aria after school. Later, Ms. Kline hands back their first Gothamite writing assignments and they choose new covers. During recess, J.R. continues to feel distant from Violet who seems to be fitting in with Ava and her friends just fine. J.R. heads inside early and then overhears Violet helping a younger girl, reminding J.R. that Violet was a friend worth fighting for.

J.R. continues to stop by June’s Books on her walks home. Mr. Richardson — Alex — is a quiet man, but does try to engage with J.R. in conversation, albeit awkwardly. To distract herself from Violet hanging out with Ava and Aria, she heads to Central Park where she bumps into her classmate Tommy. Tommy points out how J.R.’s latest Gothamite cover shows a girl who resembles Ava a lot, inspiring her to write a scene in which the girl wakes up feeling horribly sick after hoping to skip her spelling quiz the next day.

The next day, J.R. is horrified to discover that Ava is home sick. Between her suddenly becoming a Walker and Ava’s illness, J.R. realizes that whatever she writes is altering reality. After Ms. Kline gives her a Gothamite cover from the last Women’s World Cup, J.R. writes a story about scoring in a game — something she’s always wanted to do.

Distracted by her incredible discovery, J.R. forgets to check in at June’s Books after school. At home, she looks up Kate Kline on the internet and finds an article about the funeral of a former schoolteacher named Eleanor Mendell who had a huge magazine collection. Both Alex Richardson and Ms. Kline are quoted in the article, much to J.R.’s surprise. Alex calls her just then from the book store and cryptically reminds her about the ending of From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler. Though the characters Claudia and Mrs. Frankweiler like having secrets, J.R. thinks secrets are much more fun when there’s someone to share them with.

Discussion questions:
  1. J.R. and Violet are huge readers and there’s a lot of talk about books throughout J.R. Silver. What is your favorite book?

  2. J.R.’s neighborhood is full of interesting landmarks and people. Tell us something about your neighborhood that you love!

  3. If you could write something into reality, what would it be?

See you again on Thursday as J.R. writes more changes into the world around her!

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