The First Summer of Callie McGee by A. L. Tait
Posted on June 20, 2023

My new middle-grade novel, THE FIRST SUMMER OF CALLIE McGEE, is officially six weeks away today, so I thought it was a good time for an official introduction.

I’m sitting here today, working on a plan to get the word out about this new book and, of course, the very first place I begin is right here, on my blog, my home on the internet.

When I scroll back through my blog posts, I can see the evolution of my writing and publishing career stretching back more than a decade. It’s one reason I’ll never give up blogging, even if I’m not writing every day like I once did.

But today is all about Callie, the plucky main character from my first-ever contemporary mystery story.



When I see her in my mind (and I do see and hear her, it’s true), I see a solemn, thoughtful little face under curly brown hair. She’s one of those kids who sees and hears a lot more than other people ever recognise, and she carries on a constant and lengthy internal dialogue with herself.

She’s also nearly thirteen and on the cusp of high school and all it entails – and she’d love nothing more than to reinvent herself, shaking off her nerdy primary school self and emerging as a cooler, more popular version of herself.

There’s a lot going on in Callie’s head.

The cover, designed and crafted by Grace Felstead from the Scholastic Australia team, perfectly captures the summer holiday feel of the book – and I’ll share more about the inspiration for the setting of the story and some other insider details and secrets on the writing of the book in subsequent posts.




“The water in a rip current is always calmer than the waves on either side. Once you’re in it, you’re best to just go with the flow.”

It’s the last summer before Callie starts high school and she’s been dragged along to yet another ‘family friends’ holiday.

Determined to change her nerdy reputation, Callie sets out to make waves but nothing is quite as she expects. Her usual ally, Sasha, has outgrown Callie; her nemesis, Mitch, has brought his cousin Owen along; and the boring south coast town of Sawyer’s Point has been rocked by a series of burglaries.

Callie, Owen and Mitch decide to investigate the robberies, bringing them face to face with a local gang … and a possible ghost.

But when Sasha goes missing, Callie must draw on all her smarts to find her friend, and discovers that being Callie McGee has its benefits.

A mystery about growing up, figuring things out and solving the puzzle of who you are.

THE FIRST SUMMER OF CALLIE McGEE will be available in all good bookshops and online on 1 August 2023.

You can pre-order a copy here or at your favourite bookseller. 

So there you go. All official.


Allison Tait how to be a children's authorAre you new here? Welcome to my blog! I’m Allison Tait, aka A.L. Tait, and I’m the author of middle-grade series, The Mapmaker Chronicles, The Ateban Cipher, and the Maven & Reeve Mysteries.

You can find out more about me here, and more about my books here.



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