writer | college essay coach


Book Reviews

Reviews for Stone Garden:

Moynahan’s...novel is about grief. It is also fun to read. Everyone should have a friend like [the narrator] Alice. ~New York Times Book Review  
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Moynahan’s gift to her reader is this fully realized character; I found myself missing Alice’s voice. ~Chicago Tribune

Stone Garden by Molly Moynahan is such a literary treat. Moynahan is a new voice that knows how to tell a story. ~Teen Voice

Well-told...moving...Moynahan has crafted an excellent story. ~Dallas Morning Star-Telegram

Moynahan’s smooth, playful prose is engaging. ~Publishers Weekly

Alice McGuire...is just as smart and funny as Holden Caulfield...[Her] voice is newly wise and altogether heartbreaking....Remarkable. ~Trenton Times

Interview for Pitch Perfect: How to Write a Successful College Essay ~Caroline Leavittville

photo by Žana Gončiar

photo by Žana Gončiar

Reviews for Parting is All We Know of Heaven:

So honest, so sad and so consistently entertaining . . . Moynahan's first novel will win her more than a few instantly loyal fans. ~San Francisco Chronicle

Moynahan is sparse and restrained in her use of emotive language…So absorbed was I by this book that I read it in one exhausting sitting …It is, in a word, powerful. ~More Magazine

Full of anger and compassion. ~Madison Smartt Bell

Contains more real energy, passion, humour and drama than half a dozen restrained and overwritten yuppie novels. ~Alison Lurie

An entertaining first novel ... an effective insight into the raw pain of loss. ~Daily Mail

Moynahan is a talented writer who is not afraid to expose every raw nerve. ~The Sunday Times


Coaching Testimonials

Reviews for Ms. Moynahan’s Writing Coach Services:

In our house when my daughter completed an essay our first question was what done Molly think? I cannot thank her enough for getting me out of the dog house with my wife and daughter. My daughter finished her essays, now we have our fingers crossed she will get into her dream school.
Mike Jones (one happy helicopter parent) mbjngn@gmail.com

Molly was a great help in writing my admissions essay from start to finish. In the brainstorming process she helped me really pinpoint what was important to me, and choose the right story to express that. Most importantly, throughout the whole process Molly was very respectful of my ideas and made sure I maintained my own voice as a writer. Her edits were extremely constructive and she was always easy to reach. I highly recommend her. ~CH-Class of 2017-Whitney Young-Entering McGill University

When I began writing my general common application essay, I had come up with a few possible ideas of what I might write about but was unsure in which direction to go. Sitting down with Molly for the first time she had me do a series of exercises to find out what topics I was passionate about and knew a lot of. Surprisingly some topic ideas that hadn’t occurred to me came up and seemed like genuine possibilities. Once I locked in on my general topic, Molly helped me figure out the direction in which I wanted to go. Working with her she helped advise me on what perspectives potentially made more sense to take the essay, evaluated the specificity of my writing so that details were well addressed, helpfully critiqued me on my literary choices and ultimately helped clean up the paper's grammar and syntax. Throughout the whole process Molly was extremely helpful and easy to reach out to, easing the burden of the arduous process of college applications. I am very grateful for her advice and would highly recommend her to other students. ~FH-Whitney M. Young High School Class of 2017  Entering: University of Chicago 2017

My daughter is a very good student. She got a 790 writing score on her SAT. I was worst case helicopter parent concerning her college essays. I started pressing her in October to complete them.  She had complete writers block. There is something terribly wrong about an  college admission process that has high school counselors telling students the common app essay  is the most important essay they will ever write in their life. My daughter was so intimated she would not write the perfect essay she could not write anything.

I meet Molly at a seminar she held in NJ. I was very impressed how she  brought the kids out of their shells and had them thinking creatively. 

When my daughter was so blocked I turned to Molly for help. She was able to mentor my daughter out of her writers block. I cannot thank her enough for helping my daughter. She started with brainstorming ideas with my daughter for her common essay. She was able to get my daughter creative juices flowing and she finally finished her common app essay. As everyone knows completing the common app essay is only the beginning. The kids then have to complete these ridiculous supplemental essays. Molly mentored my daughter though ALL these essays. 

Molly impressed me with her knowledge of how teenagers think and communicate; I know my son could easily relate to her and her guidance. Molly did not rewrite or reinvent my son’s work. She preserved the creativity, spirit, and themes of my son’s writing while enhancing it with her editorial skills and writer’s expertise. She was encouraging and very timely. ~Parent of College Essay Student

Reviews for Ms. Moynahan’s Coaching Workshops:

On just finishing the first draft of my first novel, I can honestly say I wouldn't have done it without taking Molly's class. While I had many ideas and starts before her class, the structure and guidance she gave in her nurturing and professional way helped give me the boost I needed to really delve into this project. ~Workshop Student

Writing a college essay is no simple task, yet it is not an insurmountable one either. Even though they consist of only a handful of paragraphs, they are very intimidating for the effect the essay has over one’s application. For me, it was important to write a solid essay in order to define myself as a strong candidate, showing I was more than just a few numbers. Moynahan helped me through this delicate process of dealing with a very personal subject while trying to organize a succinct idea and message for the essay. Through the drafts, the essay improved dramatically from a disorganized and frayed essay, into a polished and coherent final product. I highly recommend using Molly in your endeavors in applying for colleges, for having a sidekick to help you through one of the most vital aspects of this process is essential. ~Ian Janicki, High School Student

If there is such a thing as teaching to "the whole child", I would describe Molly as "a whole teacher" who helped me as a former English teacher and once-aspiring writer to rediscover my inner writer-self. It was wonderfully transformative and I found myself back in touch with that deep part of me that was somehow buried underneath my layers of unconscious doubts and insecurities. Molly's small group process approach was perfect for helping each of us learn to open up and express ourselves and my guess is we'll all keep coming back for more. What I liked most about Molly's style is that it is completely authentic and equal so that when we leave class, we leave feeling that if she can do it, we can do. My guess is that many of us may end up getting published and Molly's stimulus and on-going inspiration will probably be the root cause of it.
Helpful, Engaging, Encouraging, Smart, Patient, Funny, Fun, Good communicator. ~
Workshop Student

Molly has crafted a class filled with engaging writing activities and inspirational writing assignments. Each week, I leave class with lots of ideas. Molly's critiques are always thoughtful, constructive, and encouraging. If you are looking for a class that motivates you to write, take Molly's class.Helpful, Engaging, Encouraging, Smart, Patient, Funny, Fun, Good communicator, Great value. 5/5 stars. ~Oliver Seay, Workshop Student

Molly Moynahan has been a surprising and beautiful find for me. I have taken two workshops with her - summer of 2009 and spring 2010. Working with Molly has made my practice, dedication and involvement to the writing process more sane, less scary, a lot more fun and more productive. She structures her lessons and critique sessions so really any level writer can participate and get good and necessary information for their writing. The most important things she will ask you for is a commitment to make the effort, to be honest, and to listen to yourself and those around you. She is super supportive, incredibly fun to be with, and extremely knowledgeable about the craft. Helpful, Engaging, Encouraging, Smart, Patient, Funny, Fun, Good communicator. Great value. ~Workshop Student

Beginning or experienced writers in search of an instructor need look no further than Molly Moynahan. An excellent author herself (read "Stone Garden"), she is also patient, funny and positive. It was one of her writing prompts that gave me the idea for my latest project! Seriously, seek out Molly as a teacher--you'll be glad you did. Helpful, Engaging, Encouraging, Smart, Patient, Funny, Fun, Good communicator. Great value.~Workshop Student

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