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Mary Porter-Malcolm knows all about Mistakes That Have Been Made, especially by the impressionable heroines of 19th-century novels. So when a girl at her new high school nearly succumbs to the wiles of a notorious cad, Mary compiles the Scoundrel Survival Guide, a rundown of literary types to be avoided at all costs. 

Alas, the number one bad boy on her list is terribly debonair. As her best intentions go up in flames, Mary discovers life doesn’t follow the same rules as fiction. If she wants a happy ending IRL, she’ll have to write it herself.


A Mighty Girl 


Forever Young Adult

Fresh Fiction 

Young Adult Book Central

KNEA Reading Circle Recommended Title

“Delightful.... Amid the brief diary entries and opulent prose, Sellet manages to hide a clever and biting social commentary in Mary's point of view. One doesn't need intimate familiarity with the classics to enjoy By the Book, but the more you know, the more you'll laugh." —   

"In this refreshing first novel, Sellet manages the large cast of characters well, while portraying the protagonist’s big family, her small circle of friends, and her first romance with considerable wit and insight. As Mary struggles with the practical and emotional troubles arising from her many mistakes, her rueful, self-deprecating narrative is sometimes impossible to read without laughing out loud. A smart, engaging romance." —Booklist, STARRED review  

"A sweet story with a focus on family and friendships."—Kirkus   

"Put in the hands of readers who love a smart and precocious cast of characters, reminiscent of Amy Heckerling’s film Clueless." —School Library Journal


“This debut sparkles! A heroine to root for, Mary Porter-Malcolm leaps off the page. Sellet has crafted a story of friendship, first love, and family dynamics that absolutely sings.” -Emma Mills, author of First & Then and Foolish Hearts.  

“By the Book is a true delight—a bibliophile’s dream—and I can’t wait to see what this incredibly talented writer does next.” -Mary O’Connell, author of Dear Reader

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