My Novel’s Best Book Friends

Brilliant books about cults, teens, and rebel girls

Miranda Beverly-Whittemore
3 min readFeb 8, 2022
Fierce Little Thing by Miranda Beverly-Whittemore

When I was writing my fifth novel, Fierce Little Thing, the word “elemental” kept rising to the surface. Thematically, I’ve always been interested in legacy, family, and secrets (see, especially, my third novel, Bittersweet)— and this new book — about a group of kids raised on a cult, and the aftershocks of the terrible thing they did to try to save it — found me digging into those concepts on a deeper, even more brutal level. The process of discovering and developing this book almost felt like scraping down to the DNA of what I care about.

Then there was the experience of writing; I found myself thinking of my characters as weather systems (any of the cult adults), or oak trees (Issy), or arrows (Xavier). The place itself, an abandoned, lakeside summer camp, had its own whims and desires, not to mention the sometimes punishing weather of Maine. All these pieces came together to propel the novel forward. Sometimes I felt less like a writer and more like the Sorcerer’s Apprentice, trying to manage the force of their collective need and opinions.

So when it came time to promote the book, I realized I was already in a deeper kind of conversation with it than I’d ever been with another book before. There were those thematic elements I mentioned above, which have…

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Miranda Beverly-Whittemore

She/her. New York Times bestseller / Author of five novels including: Fierce Little Thing, June, and Bittersweet. https://linktr.ee/MirandaBW