Next Up

EARTH TO DAD (affectionately known as Lars)
Capstone, August 2018

The distance between Earth and Mars is more than just physical.

No one knows that better than eleven-year-old Jameson O’Malley. When Dad left for Mars, Jameson thought technology would help shorten the millions of miles between them, but he’s starting to realize no transmission can replace his father.

When a new family moves onto Base Ripley, Jameson makes an unlikely friend in Astra Primm, who’s missing a parent of her own. But as their friendship grows stronger, Jameson starts seeing the flaws in his own family. Mom is growing distant, and something is wrong with Dad. He’s not sending transmissions as frequently, and when he does there are bags under his eyes.

Soon Jameson realizes there’s more to the story than he knows--and plenty people aren’t telling him. Determined to learn the truth, Jameson and Astra embark on a journey exploring life, loss, and friendship that will take them to the edge of their universe.

"Well-paced and rich"

"Strong character development and plotting keep the pages turning
as the two friends risk all for each other"

"A solid choice for upper elementary and middle school students who want dystopia
but are not ready for the intensity and violence that defines the YA offerings in the genre"
--School Library Journal

"Van Dolzer uses her apocalyptic setting to highlight this story of grief,
creating believable, likable child characters"


THE MULTIPLYING MYSTERIES OF MOUNT TEN (affectionately known as Clyde the Second)
Bloomsbury Children's, April 2019

Twelve-year-old Esther Lambert can't wait to get to Camp Vermeer, the most prestigious art camp on this side of the Louvre. The workshops are named after famous artists, the cabins are works of art themselves, and the director called Esther’s portfolio “a mixed-media sensation.” But Camp Vermeer will have to wait after her stepdad drives up the wrong mountain and slides their truck into a boulder. Now they’re stuck at a math camp until he can find a way to fix it.

Esther tries to make new friends, but the other campers think she's brainless. Determined to prove them wrong, she tackles the Problem of the Camp, an impossible brain-teaser that's supposed to take all week. When she solves it in a single day (using diagrams, no less), the other campers happily assimilate her into their circle--and a would-be killer sets her in his sights.

At first, she ignores the cryptic note she finds tacked to her least favorite boulder. She even tells herself the clues that keep popping up around the lodge can't possibly be real. But when a fellow camper disappears, followed closely by her stepdad, Esther vows to solve the puzzle. She may not know who to trust, but she knows she can trust herself.

If she doesn't wind up dead.

Out Now

THE SOUND OF LIFE AND EVERYTHING (affectionately known as Steve)
G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers, May 2015


A Junior Library Guild Selection
A 2015 Association of Mormon Letters Awards Finalist

Twelve-year-old Ella Mae Higbee is a sensible girl. She eats her vegetables and wants to be just like Sergeant Friday, her favorite character on Dragnet. So when her auntie Mildred starts spouting nonsense about a scientist who can bring her cousin Robby back to life, Ella Mae doesn’t believe her--until a boy steps out of the scientist’s pod and drips slime on the floor right before her eyes.

But the boy is not Robby--he’s Japanese. And in California in the wake of World War II, the Japanese are still feared and mistreated. When Auntie Mildred refuses to take responsibility, Ella Mae convinces her mama to take the boy home with them. It’s clear that he’ll be kept like a prisoner in that lab, and she wants to help.

Determined to do what’s right by her new friend, Ella Mae teaches him English and defends him from the reverend’s talk of H-E-double-toothpicks. But when the boy’s painful memories resurface, Ella Mae learns some surprising truths about her own family and, more importantly, what it means to love.

"Brimming with empathy, humor, forgiveness, and wisdom
about what it means to be truly, fully human"
--Tricia Springstubb, author of MOONPENNY ISLAND

"Ella Mae is a scrapper in the tradition of Harper Lee’s Scout"
--Publishers Weekly

"A remarkable effort that explores stereotypes, family, and friendships that transcend the 1950s"

"Perfect for classrooms and book clubs, as it definitely offers a lot of material for discussion"

"Recommended to fans of historical fiction who enjoy a mix of history and ethics"
--School Library Journal


DON'T VOTE FOR ME (affectionately known as Clyde)
Sourcebooks Jabberwocky, August 2015


It's class president election time, and no one is surprised when Veronica Pritchard-Pratt is the only name on the list. She's the most popular girl in school, a social giant who rules the campaign every single year. David, for one, is sick of the tyranny--which he says. Out loud. When Veronica hears about this, she issues a public challenge to David. With his pride on the line, David accepts his fate and enters the race.

But as the campaign wages on, and David and Veronica are also paired up for a spring musical recital, David learns this Goliath is more than just a social giant--and maybe deserves to win more than he does...

"A comic romp that's also an enlightening quest for increased awareness and self-understanding"

"Van Dolzer keeps the tone light between David's wry observations, amusing friends, 
and the goofy predicaments he falls into"
--Publishers Weekly

"Readers looking for realistic middle-grade fiction will find David a likable guide
in a balanced lesson about ceding the spotlight"
--School Library Journal