"[T]he most buoyant example of ensemble work since E. L. Konigsburg’s The View from Saturday (1996) and the best of Gregory Maguire’s Hamlet Chronicles. . . . Flicking among points of view with increasing speed, Holmes tracks the blossoming of Bo Whaley, an often-in-trouble kinetic learner who takes to improv like a duck to water; his just-arrived cousin Gari (who will without doubt grow up to be a professional campaign manager); and a supporting cast of gently caricatured classmates, parents, and faculty. Though only a small part is actually written as a script, the entire tale is purest stagecraft: quick, funny, sad, full of heart, and irresistibly absorbing." -- Booklist, starred review

Miss Loupe is the kind of teacher every kid dreams about, and the “all for one, one for all” mentality that comes through as the students band together is inspiring. ---Publishers Weekly 8/​17/​09

"OPERATION YES is a book about learning not only to say yes, but to move that yes around and pay it forward, to others who might need help in believing in it....Thought-provoking. Wonder-producing. Solidly magical....OPERATION YES lifts off. And flies."

Operation Yes is filled with riches: caring, loving parents, a multileveled portrait of what it is like to live in a military family, sympathetic and well-developed characters, sorrows, laughter, growing up, and thousands of LGMs (you'll see). Contemporary realistic juvenile fiction of the highest order. ---Provo Library Review

"This is a fabulous book that sheds light on a culture that has been ignored in children's literature -- the culture of military families, military bases, military schools. This is a must-read. You will laugh, you will cry, and your heart will fill with gratitude and understanding, in a way that it perhaps has not before, for all those who serve for a greater cause."


"if you remain confined, you cannot grow up. Holmes's heroine...manages to rescue herself by taking responsibility for her own future."

"...the story is full and its protagonist three-dimensional. She acts her age and responds to her situation with equal parts optimism, realism, and cynicism....Each of us has the potential to be a hero, even as we're looking for someone else to save us"

"A bright, capable character leaves readers with the wisdom that one must rescue oneself before rescuing others."

"I thoroughly enjoyed this heartfelt, touching novel. Cadence's voice rings through, clear and believable, and I have a feeling the characters will be staying with me for a very long time."

"There are a lot of threads running through this novel, and Holmes weaves them together skillfully... Letters from Rapunzel is a clever and thought-provoking treat."

"...a wonderful read for fourth through eighth graders, with an unusual storytelling method, and a unique and engaging voice. Although difficult subjects are covered, Rapunzel's breezy tone keeps the book feeling safe for the reader. Recommended for upper elementary and middle school kids, girls and boys."

"...one of the best books I’ve read this year....Being gifted is awesome in some very real ways, but it also majorly sucks in some very real ways. Holmes really, truly got it. She absolutely nailed it."

"Original, funny and a little sad, Letters From Rapunzel gives readers new perspectives on coming to terms with the truth about things we can't control, and learning to rescue ourselves."

"The story is ultimately uplifting, and the narrator's voice is engaging, whip-smart, and funny. And, above all, it's a story that needs to be told..."

"Rapunzel's a great character, creative, smart, and bright, but still sounding like a kid. I really wish I had this book to read when I was in late elementary school."

"will especially draw young pre-teen girls who feel a bit left of center or a bit out of place"

"Holmes manages her copious fairy-tale metaphors with a delicately layered grace..."

"Grimm's Fairy Tales meet The Breakfast Club..."

"(Rapunzel) is someone any kid...would love to have as a pen pal."

"(a) moving debut novel...pain and hope in equal measure...will keep thoughtful readers involved."

"...wildly funny..."

"A serious, but highly relatable book; young teens will enjoy Rapunzel's wry sense of humor"

"...a poignant and powerful tale ..."

"Sara writes with such clarity about the burdens of giftedness and sensitivity that Rapunzel and her father's fate really mattered to me..."

Talk Back

Operation Yes Comments (NOTE: It may take a few days for a reply. This chat is NOT live. Thanks for understanding.)

Click and type in a question or comment

where did you grow up I am doing a book report on operation yes LOVE the book :)

---Thank you! I was born in Wisconsin, but grew up in Knoxville, TN.

I just read your book Operation Yes for school. I love it; it's so good! I would love to write my own novel someday. Where do you get your ideas from, and how long did it take you to write Operation Yes?

---Thank you! I'm glad you liked it, and that you came here to tell me so. I don't check this board as often as I should, so I apologize if you've waited forever for my reply. (I hope you didn't wait as long as it took me to write Operation Yes---about a year.) The idea for Operation Yes came from my own life as part of a military family; I'm sure your life has lots of interesting angles, too. And YES, please do write your own novel. Start now. Writing takes lots and lots of practice, so don't give up.

Dear Mrs.Holmes,
You have my dream job,to be a writer.It is a fun way to express your feelings.You do such a good job being a writer.You are my favorite author. Operaton Yes is the best,better than the rest.

---I hope you follow your dream to be a writer! Read a lot, write a lot, dream a lot, okay?

Mrs.Holmes I think you are so cool! I really like your book "Operation Yes."My friend and I are big fans.I think it is cool that you tried to send a message but don't hurt and discourage anyone's opinion about the message.Thanks again!

---So glad you liked it, and so happy you left a message here for me! I think it's cool you took the time to find my website.

Hi! My name is Chris, and I'm doing a book report on
Operation Yes. When did you decide to become a writer?

---Hi, Chris. I thought about becoming a writer when I was in high school, but it took me until I was about 26 before I began writing more seriously. I wrote short stories first, and then I wrote my first novel, which was published in 2007.

Why don't you tell people when you were born and where?

---It's not always great to share everything about yourself on the Internet, right? That said, I was born in Wisconsin in the 1960s.

Why don't you menchan your birth dat and where you were born? See above.

Mrs.Holmes I think you are awesome! Thanks for coming to my school and signing my book! I was so excited! You're really nice and I wish we had more time to talk! My favorite part of your book is when you said every one is fighting a battle. I agree and for that and more reasons I think you're one of the best authors!

---Thank you! And thank you for telling me that you liked the battle quote. It's one of my favorites, and I try to share it as often as I can.

hi your book operation yes was amazing! i am looking foward to your other books.

---Thank you so much! I'm working on a new book now. :)

I just love your book! I'm even doing it for a book report at school. What is your purpose to writing the book?

---Thanks! I wrote the book because I wanted to tell a story about military kids. And because I'm always trying to figure out whether I'm a planner or an improviser!

I loved Operation Yes. My dad is in the military, and I've felt exactly the same as the kids in Room 208. You described Base and AF life perfectly.Thank-you writing a book that totally hits home.

---Thank you. That's lovely to hear from a reader who knows base and AF life. I'd love to hear your stories one day too.

Thanks for coming to our school's play of Letters to Rapunzel!!! IT MEANT SO MUCH! I know that what we performed didn't even TOUCH what you wrote, but we tried! THANK YOU!

---You guys were awesome. Amazing. Inspiring. Adapting a book to the stage is something most people never attempt. But you guys ROCKED IT.

I like your book

---Thank you! I'm glad you do. :)

I dont really understand what "to break your heart" means. Can you explain it for me?

---From Letters From Rapunzel, right? "You must be willing to to have your heart broken in order to live." This means that if you live all closed up and never take a risk, you might be alive, but you won't be fully living. You have to be open to loving people and knowing the truth about them even when it can be hard. Does that make sense? Cadence is saying that knowing the truth is hard, but she's glad she knows.

i have the book letters from rapunzel. My favorite part was Cladence hitting Andrew with her english book. Sometimes I thought can I also do it in school? But I could never do that 'cause I don't wanna end up in A.D.I.S.D.-All-Day In-School Detention(in case you forgot). EDWINA

--Yup. A.D.I.S.D. would not be a good thing. Characters in books get in trouble so you don't have to. :)

I loved the book! I forced my dad to read it when I was finished. It inspired me to create a plan A, even if I ended up using plan B!

---Thank you, and I hope your dad enjoyed it too. I just made a new plan for my next book. Writing, like life, is that way---planning, revising, more planning, more revising. Best of luck in your Plans A-Z!

Hi, i just got your book, read a chapter and i love it already!

---Oooh, my first comment! *applause* Thank you!

Letters From Rapunzel Chatter (NOTE: It may take a few days for a reply. This chat is NOT live. Thanks for understanding.)

Click and type in a question or comment

Dear Mrs. Holmes,
Letters from Rapunzel was the first book of yours that I've read and I loved it! It gave this awesome feeling, I felt courageous and special, and like I can always be my own person, I wanted to than you for that :)

-----YAY! That's makes me so happy, to know that you will always be your own true, courageous self. I will strive to do the same, although it isn't easy.

P.S. I'm sorry I haven't answered before now---I don't update this website as much as I should.

What was your child hood like.
----I was born in Milwaukee, lived in NYC and Pennsylvania for awhile, then moved to Knoxville, TN when I was in third grade. Grew up with two brothers and a sister and a dog named Nyxie. I loved reading, playing outside, and theater. Come to think of it, I still love all three of those things!

Keep on being a fabulous author!

---keep on being a fabulous reader!

Your books are fantastic. Your book, "Operation Yes" was the best book I ever read in my life. Please keep on illustrating your terrific books.

---Thank you. The illustrations are great, but I didn't do them. The book was designed by Phil Falco.

I love your book, and I wish I could be as brave or as inspired as "Rapunzel" was. I couldn't put it down!

---Aw, thanks. I think you're braver than you know.

Awsome book. I would totally hit andrew if i was in "Rupnezel's" place overall great no completly awsome. (p.s hitting Andrew on the nose)

Dear, Rapunzel your book is great. you did a great job on the part where Candance keeps her dad's fortune and were she came to the bridge. You ROCK from,spot

---Thank you both! Readers of all kinds (but especially readers who write me to say what they think) ROCK!

hi my name is mia. i have the book letters from rapunzel. i was wondering if you could tell me what town or street u live on. so maybe i could visit you. my dad went to UNC. did you see the carolina baseball game? i did and after the game my sister and i got our posters signed by the hole team. love, mia s. wood

---Hi, Mia! So glad to hear you have my book. That's cool about getting to see the game and having your posters signed. Are you going to put the poster up somewhere special? I can't give you my home address because--just a friendly reminder---no one should post that info on the internet. But I love that you left a comment here and that I could write you back!

Why did you write Letters From Rapunzel?

---I wrote it to tell the story of someone who wants to rescue someone else, but doesn't know how. If you click on the "My Book" link above, you'll find all sorts of information about how and why I wrote this story.

Your book Letters From Rapanel is just great. I am doing a book report on it. I just simply love it and so does my teacher. I hope you write books like this a whole lot more! It is awsome! :)

---Why, thank you! I hope you ROCK your book report!

your book is so great are you going t write another book that would be so great.

i love your bock i am on the 15 page

---Thank you so much! My next book is called Operation Yes, and it will be out in September 2009. Meanwhile, thank you for being fans. It means a lot to me to have devoted readers!

Hi, My name is Keely.And Iam 7 years old. and I think you are so inspirational. please make another book. your fan, keely

--Hi, Keely! Thanks for your kind words. I DO have another book written. It's called Operation Yes and you can read it in the Fall of 2009. (Sorry for the long wait, but making a book takes longer than you think!) When I know more, I'll be sure to update my readers here.

what is your faerie tale word? i loved your book - robin

--Hi Robin. The word is WISH. Do you see it there, between my middle and last names?

did you have any old jobs before becoming an author or do you just help others when you aren't writing. Stephine

---I used to work for a couple of universities overseas: The University of Maryland and the University of Southern California. I also had a job during my own college days working for Colonial Williamsburg and I got to wear a costume.

When do you come back to sign books and sign stuff, i want to see you! Ericka

---Thanks, Ericka!

When is your birthday and do you celebrate it? Angel

---It's in April. Everybody in my whole family has a birthday in April, including my dog. I like to celebrate by eating as much chocolate cake as possible.

What inspired you to write your books? melsissa

---Try clicking on the link at the top of this page that says: My Books That will lead you to a lot of good information!

Hi again! have you gotten any awards lately since you written your book? Victoria

---Letters From Rapunzel has been nominated for a Cybil, which is an award given to books that are both well-written and have "kid-appeal." You can read about it on my "What's New?" page. (See the link at the very top of the page.)

Hi! i have another question, do u have any pets? ido its a dog! Victoria

---I have a dog, too. She's a miniature Australian shepherd.

oh so you are a outgoing person? like me i love the outdoors! :)Victoria

what r your hobbies? Victoria

---Hi, Victoria. I like to play golf, read, hike, travel to big cities and wild places, see plays, and do yoga.

I think i know the word in your name, is it wish?

--- ;)

When where you born?

---In the Dark Ages. Seriously, I like to be careful with the personal info I share online.

While applying for colleges, I ran upon William and Mary and noticed that your attended that school. Would your recommend the school to me, a hard studying student who also wants a good party? (p.s. your book is amazing)

---William and Mary is an excellent school for a hard-studying student. Most everyone takes learning seriously, and the classes are small enough that you can really get to know your professors. Plus, the campus is gorgeous, and Williamsburg is filled with great restaurants and fun stuff to do. As to the good parties, I've always found that good parties depend upon good friends, and I made plenty of those, too. Thanks for reading my book---I'm glad you still have a few spare minutes to read, because I know how much time the college search process takes. Good luck on your applications!

What is the fairy tale word in your name? I saw that in another part of the website and was stumped. Help me out!
---Can I give you a hint? It starts with "w."

i need help with writing a poem im in the 5th grade and i need help

do you know any poems for 5th grade from a reading book.like a royal vogage book from 5th grade. thank you

---For help in writing poems, I recommend the book Seeing the Blue Between: Advice and Inspiration for Young Poets by Paul Janeczko. And surprise! I also recommend that same book if you need a poem to read, because it's filled with great poetry as well as great advice. Ask your librarian or teacher to help you find this book or one like it. If you're in the library by yourself, try poking around in the 808 section...that's where all the good poetry collections hide.

hi sara! love your new blog. you definitely have the knack. do you do anything else upside down besides reading :)? definitely need to read your book. - jama rattigan (also in virginia)

Read*Write*Believe--Yes! Do it!

---Yes! I did! See here: READ * WRITE * BELIEVE

I'd read your blog every dang day if you created one. And I'm glad to read (in your meme from Robin) that you'll be writing more gorgeous poetry. -- Jules at 7-Imp

---Thanks, jules! And everyone else, go read her blog...click the link to the left (Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast) Tell her I sent you!
I have a question? How does this relate to science?

--Do you mean the part where the main character does her science homework, "How to Rescue Rapunzel with Simple and Complex Machines," in a funny way? (She suggests building a trampoline and telling Rapunzel to jump.) Or there's the part where she calculates how fast hair grows...

I just finish your book Letters From Rapunzel, and i love so much i am going to read it again!when is your next book coming out i am so excited! Victoria

--Thanks, Victoria. There's nothing better for an author to hear than that a reader is going to read her book again. I hope you like it the second time around, too! I'm not sure about my next book. I've finished writing most of it, but I'm working on making it even better.

i reading your book right now and not finish but i really like it so far. your book is so funny and amazing! Victoria

I love your book letters from Rapuzel. I finished it in 2 days. Are you going to make anymore new books like that?

--Yes, I am. I'm almost done with my second book. But it's not a sequel to Letters From Rapunzel. It's something completely different. I'll post a few preview pages here when I have them finished. Thanks for reading!

Thanks for checking out amendenhall.livejournal.com , which archives my columns from the Parkersburg News. You may want to link the review for Rapunzel off of there instead of the Parkersburg News and Sentinel website, as they only keep the columns on for a week. Enjoyed Rapunzel a lot! Amy Mendenhall, book editor, Parkersburg News and Sentinel

---Thanks, Amy. The link is fixed now.

Sara, Thanks for reading my blog, "Check It Out". I have to order this book. I am a Rapunzel fan. Jone aka MsMac

----Thanks! I made your blog "clickable" so people can indeed "check it out".

hello i just bought your book i look forward to reading it it looks good you are the best author ever bye

---Happy reading!

Sara, I hope your book is everything you imagined it would be. I immediately went to Amazon.com, read the excerpt, and ordered my copy. I cannot wait to read it in full. I cannot wait to share it with my daughter, Maggie Grace. I cannot wait to hear from my students too! All of the best to you, Meg Teel

---Thanks, Meg. I hope your students love it. And I hope Maggie Grace does too, when she's old enough!

Congratulations Sara! We have your postcards announcing your book on our front desk so that EVERYONE will know about Letters from Rapunzel. Hopefully you'll find a way to make it back to SJAFB for a booksigning! We all miss you and Wish you the best!! From Sharon and all the women At BELLAMORPHOSIS!

----Thanks! I miss all of you! And I hear you won a Services award? That's wonderful!

Is Letters From Rapunzel an AR book?

--------Not yet. It was just published, and it takes time for a book to be part of the Accelerated Reader program.

OOPS! I forgot to sign the comment below. I'm Julia Denton, also living in Virginia.

Hi Sara, Congratulations! I read the sample on your website and really liked it; I can't wait to read the whole book. Since you like fairy tales, have you read Gregory MacGuire's books? (Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister, Wicked, etc.) I hope I am spelling his name right. Anyway, thanks for letting us (SCBWI) know about your book.

-----Yes, Julia, I loved Wicked! I'd like to see it on Broadway one day.

Hi Sara, Just wanted to say that it was great to meet you at SCBWI! Letters from Rapunzel sounds fabulous. I'm really looking forward to it. - Sarah Beth Durst www.sarahbethdurst.com

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Fall 2017
Military kids + improv
What would you write from YOUR tower?