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UTM professor offers her book free to students

By Reid Whaley
On December 5, 2012

Merry Brown is known as a professor of Philosophy, but what many students may not know is that she is also an author.

Recently she wrote THE KNOWERS.  A description of the book on reads "If Twilight and The Avengers had a baby and that baby was now a teenager, you'd have the new YA novel The Knowers."

It's not surprising, then, that Mrs. Brown said she was inspired to write the novel out of her interest in today's many popular young adult stories.  

"I read a lot of Young Adult (YA) literature.  Many of the stories I've read lately are dark, and paint a depressing picture of the world - a world where love makes you needy and characters that are traditionally good or bad are mixed.  I wanted to write a story that paints a different picture of the world; a story where the good characters are actually good. I also wanted to write a love story my boys would want to read," she said.

The story takes place somewhere she once lived, Bakersfield, CA, so the story surely feels real.  The main characters are a boy named Will and a girl named Lizzy.  Both are high school students but neither is what anyone would consider a typical teenager. Most high school kids worry about doing homework, getting a job, deciding who they will go with to the next school dance, or figuring out what kind of car they will drive.  Will's main concern in life is to stay alive and get away from his vicious father.  

The story begins when Will is a senior in high school. When he was younger, his father was a loving philanthropist. However, 7 years prior, his family was in a devastating car accident that killed his mom and sister.  His father survived the wreck, but in the wake of the accident he transformed from a caring man to a monster.  Ever since his father's change for the worst, Will has been fighting to stay alive and sane. The story is told from his point of view.

Lizzy is somewhat of a mysterious figure.  She moved from one place to another throughout her life until her family finally ended up in Bakersfield during the middle of her junior year. Lizzy is very kind, but she does not let anyone push her around. She is also unusually wise for someone her age. Will quickly realizes something is different about her, but he struggles to figure out what it is. She's not like other people. Everybody on campus knows someone that's a little "different," but Lizzy is truly in a category of her own.  She has a secret.

This passage from the novel is a quote from Will after he realized that Lizzy really is different:

"I'd been concentrating on her dangerous comments so much I'd neglected the real clues she'd left for me.  She told me she was a being for others.  If she's not an alien, she's gotta be something . . . other.  Supernatural?  I wasn't sure about that.  Human?  She seemed more than human - a whole human whereas most humans are lacking, hurting, less than they could be, mistake-ridden.  She wasn't.  She was, almost, perfect? She was something.  What, I had no idea."

Will's brilliant plan to fly below the radar blows up in his face when he gets involved with the puzzling Lizzy.  Will worries for her safety, exposing her to his dangerous world, only to discover what Lizzy really is and what she fights against. Will already has enough problems. Now there's another one.  How can Will, a Knower, and Lizzy, a daughter from The Garden, possibly find a way to be together?

Ultimately, THE KNOWERS is not all about external conflicts. It contains a deeper meaning within its pages. Every author has a goal when they write, and Merry Brown is no different in that respect.

" I want my readers to come away from THE KNOWERS thinking about the possibility that beauty and love are stronger than death and destruction and will ultimately triumph," she said.  

The possibility of love and beauty triumphing over evil is even hinted at by the characters in the novel.  Lizzy and her extended family have the motto, "Beauty will redeem the world."

THE KNOWERS seems like what we've all been waiting for:  A fun book to read with a positive message that both young men and women should enjoy. It is available at The Looking Glass right here in Martin and in both paperback and Kindle editions on It is extremely cool to have an author on campus who is willing to give away free editions of her latest book. Mrs. Merry Brown fits that description.  The Kindle edition of THE KNOWERS will be free to the UTM community Dec. 4th-8th.

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