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Dewey Diva Fall 2022

Weird Rules to Follow
By (author): Kim Spencer
Kim Spencer


Orca Book Publishers - Victoria



Product Form:


Form detail:

Paperback , Trade


Juvenile: Age (years) 9 - 12, Grade (CAN) 4 - 7, Grade (US) 4 - 7, Reading age 9 - 12
Oct 18, 2022
Print Run: 10000
$12.95 CAD


7.5in x 5 x 0.5 in | 200 gr

Page Count:

192 pages
FSC certified – mixed sources C016245
Orca Book Publishers
JUVENILE FICTION / Social Themes / Friendship
Children’s / Teenage fiction: True stories told as fiction|Children’s / Teenage personal and social topics: Families and family members|Children’s / Teenage personal and social topics: Friends and friendships|Children’s / Teenage personal and social topics: Racism and anti-racism|Children’s / Teenage personal and social topics: First / new experiences and growing up / coming of age|Interest age: from c 9 years|Relating to Indigenous peoples
  • Short Description
In this novel for middle readers told in vignettes, Mia and her best friend, Lara, have very different experiences growing up in a northern fishing community in the 1980s.
Can this friendship weather the seasons?

“Readers will be left with a rich image of Mia’s world and the family and people that surround her as well as a strong sense of how culture and class impact people’s experiences. A touching exploration of identity and culture.”—Kirkus Reviews

Mia knows her family is very different than her best friend's.

In the 1980s, the coastal fishing town of Prince Rupert is booming. There is plenty of sockeye salmon in the nearby ocean, which means the fishermen are happy and there is plenty of work at the cannery. Eleven-year-old Mia and her best friend, Lara, have known each other since kindergarten. Like most tweens, they like to hang out and compare notes on their crushes and dream about their futures. But even though they both live in the same cul-de-sac, Mia’s life is very different from her non-Indigenous, middle-class neighbor. Lara lives with her mom, her dad and her little brother in a big house, with two cars in the drive and a view of the ocean. Mia lives in a shabby wartime house that is full of relatives—her churchgoing grandmother, binge-drinking mother and a rotating number of aunts, uncles and cousins. Even though their differences never seemed to matter to the two friends, Mia begins to notice how adults treat her differently, just because she is Indigenous. Teachers, shopkeepers, even Lara’s parents—they all seem to have decided who Mia is without getting to know her first.

Key Selling Points

  • A young Indigenous girl growing up in the 1980s learns some hard lessons about friendship, family and cultural differences.
  • This coming-of-age debut novel explores the themes of racism, microaggressions and friendship through a series of vignettes.
  • Weird Rules to Follow offers a glimpse of life in a remote coastal fishing community from an Indigenous perspective.
  • The author is Indigenous and a graduate of SFU’s Writer’s Studio, where she specialized in creative nonfiction.
  • The narrative is told in “scenes from a life” episodes that form a cohesive whole.
  • Free Study Guide will be available at orcabook.com.

Kim Spencer is a graduate of the Writers Studio at Simon Fraser University, where she focused on creative nonfiction. Two of her short stories were published in an anthology released through SFU, and an experimental short story of hers appeared in Filling Station magazine and was shortlisted for the Alberta Magazine Publishers Association Award. Kim was selected as a mentee by the Writers Union of Canada for BIPOC Writers Connect, as well as for ECW's BIPOC Writers Mentorship Program. Kim is from the Ts’msyen Nation in northwest BC and currently lives in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Marketing and Promotional Plans

  • Print and online advertising campaigns
  • Promotion at national and regional school, library and trade conferences
  • Extensive ARC distribution, including NetGalley
  • Blog and social media promotion
  • Outreach in Orca newsletters

“Simply put, Kim Spencer’s Weird Rules to Follow is a gem of a novel. With sensitive yet sharply written prose, it beautifully inhabits the preteen world of Mia Douglas, which bubbles over with friends, family and adolescent confusion. The town of Prince Rupert and its inhabitants come alive, giving readers the perfect backdrop for Mia’s evolving understanding of her Indigenous identity and how she is perceived by others. Like Margaret Simon, Meg Murry and Starr Carter, Mia Douglas is a fictional star whom young readers will love.” - Jen Sookfong Lee, author of The Conjoined

★“Readers will be left with a rich image of Mia’s world and the family and people that surround her as well as a strong sense of how culture and class impact people’s experiences. A touching exploration of identity and culture.” - Kirkus Reviews, starred review

“Like a photo album but in text rather than in pictures…providing the reader with a layered, nuanced picture of Mia’s life.” - Booklist

“Heartfelt and moving…Recommended.” - CM: Canadian Review of Materials

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