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Monica Wood books in order

Monica Wood is an American award-winning memoirist, playwright and author of literary fiction and contemporary women’s fiction.

As an author, she is best known for writing books such as One-in-a-Million Boy (2016), which has been translated into 20 languages, and When We Were the Kennedys (2012)–a New England bestseller and winner of the May Sarton Memoir Award and the Maine Literary Award.

Her non-fiction works have appeared in many publications including Oprah, New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, and Parade, while her plays have run in stages in Maine and New York.

A recipient of the Maine Writers and Publishers Alliance Distinguished Achievement Award for contributions to the literary arts, Monica currently resides in Portland, Maine, with her husband, Dan Abbott, and their cat, Susie.

More about Monica Wood

Genres: Contemporary , Fiction, Literary Fiction, Non-fiction, Women's Fiction

Born: 1953

United States


Non Series

  • Secret Language (1993)
  • My Only Story (2000)
  • Any Bitter Thing (2005)
  • The One-in-a-Million Boy (2016)
  • How to Read a Book (2023)


  1. Short Takes: 15 Contemporary Stories (Edited by Monica Wood) (1992)
  2. The Way Life Should Be: Stories by Contemporary Maine Writers (2005)


  1. Ernie's Ark: Stories (2002)


  1. Description: Elements of Fiction Writing (1995)
  2. More about How to Write a Million: The Essential Guide to Becoming a Successful Author (1996)
  3. 12 Multicultural Novels: Reading and Teaching Strategies (1997)
  4. The Pocket Muse: Ideas and Inspiration for Writing (2002)
  5. When We Were the Kennedys: A Memoir from Mexico, Maine (2012)


  1. A Woman in a Million (2016)

Detailed book overview

Non Series

Secret Language

Faith and Connie endured the same childhood as daughters of egocentric, semi-famous actors who can scarcely take care of themselves. But the two sisters could not be more different.

Connie learned to beg for attention, clamor for approval, and fill the silence with words. Faith turned inward, shrinking from the tender emotions that make up an ordinary life. Despite their differences, the sisters came to rely on each other exclusively. But lately, after years of quiet connection, Faith and Connie seem to have lost the ties that once held them close. 

Faith has a home and two growing sons, but is still unable to fathom unconditional love. Connie, a flight attendant, is always searching, ever-expecting to find her true place in life at the end of each long flight. But a series of shocking, revelatory events will bring the sisters back to each other—and forever alter how they define love, fulfillment, and most importantly, family.

Author: Monica Wood
First Release: 1993
ISBN: 978-0345449078
Publisher: Random House
My Only Story

He came to me first in a dream, as a crippled dog angling down a country lane, puzzled by his sudden age, his bum paw, the dry stick clamped between his teeth. I’d been expecting this dream for a very long time, and I woke up moving....

Rita Rosario has a gift, a way with people. She listens to them and really sees them for who they are–warts and all. And sometimes, she even knows how to guide them toward a new beginning. Women, even men, come to Rita’s beauty shop for perms, town gossip, and the makeovers of their very lives.

John Reed first appears to Rita in one of her dreams. When they meet at a town gathering a few days later, she immediately offers him a haircut, and her heart. As they share their stories, Rita senses she can help John fill a void by reconnecting him to his only family–a young niece he nearly lost in a heartbreaking tragedy. 

While inspiring John on a journey out of loneliness and into reconciliation, Rita begins to come to terms with events in her past ...and discovers things about herself she never realized, including her own intimate role in John’s unfolding story.

Author: Monica Wood
First Release: 2000
ISBN: 978-0345442932
Publisher: Random House
Any Bitter Thing

After surviving a near-fatal accident, thirty-year-old Lizzy Mitchell faces a long road to recovery. She remembers little about the days she spent in and out of consciousness, save for one thing: She saw her beloved deceased uncle, Father Mike, the man who raised her in the rectory of his Maine church until she was nine, at which time she was abruptly sent away to boarding school. Was Father Mike an angel, a messenger from the beyond, or something more corporeal? 

Though her troubled marriage and her broken body need tending, Lizzy knows she must uncover the details of her accident–and delve deep into events of twenty years before, when whispers and accusations forced a good man to give up the only family he had. With deft insight into the snares of the human heart, Monica Wood has written an intimate and emotionally expansive novel full of understanding and hope.

Author: Monica Wood
First Release: 2005
ISBN: 978-0345477682
Publisher: Ballantine Books
The One-in-a-Million Boy

"The story of your life never starts at the beginning. Don't they teach you anything at school?"

So says 104-year-old Ona to the 11-year-old boy who's been sent to help her out every Saturday morning. As he refills the bird feeders and tidies the garden shed, Ona tells him about her long life, from first love to second chances. Soon she's confessing secrets she has kept hidden for decades.

One Saturday, the boy doesn't show up. Ona starts to think he's not so special after all, but then his father arrives on her doorstep, determined to finish his son's good deed. The boy's mother is not so far behind. Ona is set to discover that the world can surprise us at any age, and that sometimes sharing a loss is the only way to find ourselves again.

Author: Monica Wood
First Release: 2016
ISBN: 978-0544947214
Publisher: Mariner Books
How to Read a Book

Our Reasons meet us in the morning and whisper to us at night. Mine is an innocent, unsuspecting, eternally sixty-one-year-old woman named Lorraine Daigle…

Violet Powell, a twenty-two-year-old from rural Abbott Falls, Maine, is being released from prison after serving twenty-two months for a drunk-driving crash that killed a local kindergarten teacher.

Harriet Larson, a retired English teacher who runs the prison book club, is facing the unsettling prospect of an empty nest.

Frank Daigle, a retired machinist, hasn’t yet come to grips with the complications of his marriage to the woman Violet killed.

When the three encounter each other one morning in a bookstore in Portland—Violet to buy the novel she was reading in the prison book club before her release, Harriet to choose the next title for the women who remain, and Frank to dispatch his duties as the store handyman—their lives begin to intersect in beautiful, transformative ways.

Author: Monica Wood
First Release: 2023
Ebook: B0BDD191Q2
Publisher: Mariner Books


Short Takes: 15 Contemporary Stories (Edited by Monica Wood)

Offers discussion guidelines, quizzes, and answers.

Author: Monica Wood
First Release: 1992
ISBN: 978-0825120596
Publisher: J Weston Walch
The Way Life Should Be: Stories by Contemporary Maine Writers

17 writers. 17 stories. One great state.

Original, unusual, classic, tender, amazing...these are the stories of Maine writers. The Way Life Should Be is a compilation of contemporary stories by some of Maine’s best established and up and coming writers. 

Their stories range in length from 3 pages to 30 pages and capture everything from daily life in Maine to tales of flying babies. 

Maine, with Portland at its epicenter, has one of the most original and thriving writing scenes in the country. The Way Life Should Be is the must-have book that epitomizes this vibrant creative community.

Author: Monica Wood
First Release: 2005
ISBN: 978-0972941037
Publisher: Warren Machine Company


Ernie's Ark: Stories

In ten interlinking stories, the town of Abbot Falls reacts as Ernie Whitten, pipefitter, builds a giant ark in his backyard. Ernie was weeks away from a pension-secured retirement when the union went on strike. Now his wife Marie is ill. Struck with sudden inspiration, Ernie builds the ark as a work of art for his wife to see from the window; a vessel to carry them both away; or a plea for God to spare Marie, come hell or high water.

As the ark takes shape, the rest of the town carries on. There’s Dan Little, a building-code enforcer who comes to fine Ernie for the ark and makes a significant discovery about himself; Francine Love, a precocious thirteen-year-old who longs to be a part of the family-like world of the union workers; and Atlantic Pulp & Paper CEO Henry John McCoy, an impatient man wearily determined to be a good father to his twenty-six-year-old daughter. The people of Abbott Falls will try their best to hold a community together, against the fiercest of odds . . .

Author: Monica Wood
First Release: 2002
ISBN: 978-0345477163
Publisher: Ballantine Books


Description: Elements of Fiction Writing

When writers make their descriptions fresh, they move their stories forward and imbue their work with atmosphere. Monica Wood helps squeeze the greatest flavor from language and provides insight into how detail, editing, style, point of view and original word depictions can be used to create unforgettable images that will stick with readers for a lifetime.

Author: Monica Wood
First Release: 1995
ISBN: 978-0898799088
Publisher: Writer's Digest Books
More about How to Write a Million: The Essential Guide to Becoming a Successful Author

Conflict, action and suspense, theme and strategy, scene and structure - the secrets of successful authorship are revealed in this easy-to-follow guide. The book shows how to write a page-turner and provides a gameplan for real success. With plenty of examples and step-by-step techniques, it contains everything an aspiring author needs to know to get off to a flying start. The guide shows how to build short stories and novels that don't fizzle out, how to invent interesting and lifelike characters and how to revise your drafts.

Author: Monica Wood
First Release: 1996
ISBN: 978-1854874351
Publisher: Constable & Robinson
12 Multicultural Novels: Reading and Teaching Strategies

Features effective teaching strategies for 12 novels from diverse cultures and ethnic backgrounds.

Includes chapter-by-chapter synopses, teaching notes, discussion questions and suggested responses, and reading quiz with answer key.

Novels are however not included.

Author: Monica Wood
First Release: 1997
ISBN: 978-0825129018
Publisher: J Weston Walch
The Pocket Muse: Ideas and Inspiration for Writing

A Whole Lot of Inspiration (in a Little Bit of Space!) The Pocket Muse is your key to finding inspiration when and where you want it. With hundreds of thought-provoking prompts, exercises and illustrations, you'll immediately:   

• Get started writing   

• Overcome writer's block   

• Develop a writing habit   

• Think more creatively   

• Master style, revision and other elements of the craft 

The rich variety of exercises will help you to create stories, focus on a single aspect of your writing, and encourage you to think about how and why you write in new and surprising ways. A truly unique book, The Pocket Muse is fun and effective. It will teach you, cheer you and inspire you to write as never before.

Author: Monica Wood
First Release: 2002
ISBN: 978-1582973227
Publisher: Monica Wood
When We Were the Kennedys: A Memoir from Mexico, Maine

Mexico, Maine, 1963: The Wood family is much like its close, Catholic, immigrant neighbors, all dependent on the fathers’ wages from the Oxford Paper Company. But when Dad suddenly dies on his way to work, Mum and the four deeply connected Wood girls are set adrift. When We Were the Kennedys is the story of how a family, a town, and then a nation mourns and finds the strength to move on.

Author: Monica Wood
First Release: 2012
ISBN: 978-0544002326
Publisher: Mariner Books


A Woman in a Million

There's someone you should meet. But, before you do...

She's just turned one hundred. She doesn't want a birthday party. Or a TV interview. She's too busy practicing for her driving test. And hoodwinking church visitors with magic tricks.

She's Miss Ona Vitkus. And she's one in a million.

Author: Monica Wood
First Release: 2016
Ebook: B019EBPVYU
Publisher: Review