-Excerpt from  Along the Garden Path

Along the Garden Path takes place in McLean and Marshall, Virginia. 

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Judge’s Commentary*:
In Along the Garden Path a young adult novel by Charlotte Strack Peyton we are presented with an evocative and emotional tale that balances 
a great deal of issues – family pressures, and the truth and how to live with it – with delicate prose. Overall, the writing is solid, with enough flair and flavor to handle the subject matter and to make it all seem real though not melodramatic. The title seems to this reader to be stunning and clear, to give the reader the right sense of the emotional stakes of this work. The characters here are fully realized, vivid and alive, and often do surprising things – or do / say things that are very human, which can be rare.  I especially like Addision, who is the real heart of this book and drives the revelations – both those that are internal and those that are plot based. The overall design of the book is stellar – very professional and appealing -  while the cover image for the book is elegant and nuanced, creating the right frame of reference for the book. 

Writer's Digest Review

This idea is so foreign to Addison; she can’t even imagine how to wrap her brain around the idea. "Well, I respect your passion for farming, even if I don't understand it. I’ve a passion too, for journalism, which my parents don't understand. I can't describe it, other than it is what I think about all the time, and it is all I have wanted to do for years. It is just part of who I am.

This is a story about Addison Erhard, an affluent young seventeen-year-old growing up in McLean, Virginia, who feels pressured to be successful. She wants to be a journalist who makes an impact on the world. In order to attend her dream school of Columbia University, she must break the state track record, and write an incredible story for her school's magazine. Her family is split in their support, the pressure in the community and from her father is to attend an Ivy League school, to become a successful lawyer, doctor, politician or banker; her father would like her to become a banker. Her mother, an artist who does not fit in with the McLean society as well as her father, supports her desire to follow her dreams.

She meets a boy, Mason Gentry, who wants to buck high society McLean by following his family’s legacy and become a farmer. While investigating her story about kids who pursue non-traditional college and career paths, the young journalist falls in love with Mason.

In March a student at Chain Bridge High School and friend of both Mason and Addison, Jamison Randall, is struck down during a hit-and-run accident early one morning. The driver of the car has fled and Jamison is in a coma.  Addison, who works for the news magazine, decides to investigate the accident on her own, and what she find is more than she can handle.


Charlotte Strack Peyton

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