Press Release: Muller to Attend Battle of the Books Finale


March 31, 2015


Loudoun County, VA—Loudoun County author Val Muller will attend the 2015 Loudoun County Battle of the Books final battle on April 22. The battle is a culmination of seven months of practice among the Battle of the Books teams of Loudoun County High School.

The Scarred Letter, Muller’s young-adult reboot of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s classic novel, is one of the ten books featured in this year’s competition. The novel explores a major theme of The Scarlet Letter—alienation—without the Puritanism, adultery, or ornate language of the original. Instead, Heather Primm faces the criticism of her school when she blogs to reveal cheating that took place at her school and resulted in a state championship win.

Scarred Leter Final“I wanted to explore the difficulty in sticking to one’s principles and the truth,” Muller said. Muller, who is also a high school English teacher, noted that, “Sticking to the truth is harder than one thinks. I challenge you to go an entire day being completely honest and sticking uncompromisingly to your principles. That’s what Heather Primm does for weeks, despite ridicule.”

Local author and Loudoun County Public Schools alumna Kristi Strong will also attend the event. Her novel, The Lady of Steinbrekka, was selected as one of this year’s battle books along with Muller’s. Muller and Strong will have books available for purchase and will be available to speak with students about their novels, the writing process, and even the publishing industry.

Muller has added an extra incentive this year: the winning team will have their mascot and school colors featured in her upcoming novel, The Girl Who Flew Away, which is currently under contract with Barking Rain Press, the publisher of The Scarred Letter.

The Battle of the Books is a competition of literary knowledge involving all high schools in Loudoun County. The organization targets students who love to read different genres. Students read ten books over the course of the year and participate in a semi-final competition, in which recall questions are asked randomly regarding any of the ten books. The top two schools with the highest scores at the semi-final competitions then go on to compete in the final battle.

The teams competing in the final battle will be determined at the April 8 semi-final battles.

The books chosen for this year’s competition include:

  • Being Henry David (Cal Armistead)
  • The Raft (S.A. Bodeen)
  • The Great Typo Hunt (Jeff Deck and Benjamin Herson)
  • Hannah’s Dream (Diane Hammond)
  • Stupid Fast (Geoff Herbach)
  • The Scarred Letter (Val Muller)
  • Eleanor and Park (Rainbow Rowell)
  • Bomb (Steve Sheinkin)
  • The Lady of Steinbrekka (Kristi Strong)
  • The Chosen One (Carol Lynch Williams)

The final battle will be held the morning of April 22, 2015 at Briar Woods High School. The competition begins at 9:30.

Contact: Val Muller (





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