Friday, May 30, 2014

Girl on Fire (not THAT one)! (by Ellen Jensen Abbott)



Excuse me while I go all fan girl. While I absolutely agree with Amy Nichols when she said that “books are a bit like fingerprints or eye color…two authors may write about the same subject …but write two completely different books,” I really do wish that I’d written Kristin Cashore’s Fire.
Fire was the first title that came to mind when I heard about this month’s theme so I went back and re-read it (for about the fourth or fifth time—see what I mean about fangirl?) to see if I could articulate what I love about this book. There are lots of things—as a fantasy writer, I love the world, the magic, the creatures. I like a little romance in my books, and the love interest here hits all the right notes. The characters are well drawn, complicated, contradictory—just like characters should be. 
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/b/bf/Fire_cover.png

But what I think makes me the most fan-girly is the premise. Plot comes from conflict and conflict comes from the author doing whatever he/she can to “unsettle, or move or stress or stretch” a character, as Alice LaPlante says in her book The Making of Story. In Cashore’s novel, everything the character most wants is prevented by what the main character is—and this makes for electrifying plot. 

You see the main character, Fire, is a human monster. But what makes her monstrous is her beauty. Right off, I love the contradiction here. Deep down, don’t we all want to be beautiful? But for Fire, it is truly a curse.  Her beauty is so intense, people either want to give themselves to her body and soul, or they want to possess her, sometimes in violent ways. In addition, her beauty opens people’s minds to her and she can enter their thoughts. She could make anyone be her friend or lover, but Fire understands that this kind of possession is fundamentally unsatisfying. All of her relationships become suspect. Does her best friend and lover Archer love her or her beauty? So her beauty makes her both extraordinarily powerful and extraordinarily lonely. 

The fact of Fire’s monstrous beauty/power drives all the “stretching” of Fire in the novel. First there’s Fire’s father. Cansrel is the only other human monster in existence, but he uses his power very differently than Fire. While Fire only enters others’ minds in self-defense, Cansrel enters minds to control, hurt, even kill. Fire hates her father’s misuse of power, but she loves him. And he’s the one being on the planet who understands what it’s like to have a monstrous beauty. When she realizes that Cansrel is destroying the kingdom, Fire is faced with a dilemma: she has the power to stop Cansrel, but to stop him is to lose him and deepen her loneliness.  

Fire’s moral code around her power causes further conflict. As a rebellion in the kingdom builds, she is begged by the royal family to use her power to save the kingdom. She loves her kingdom and wants to help, but to do so she will just have to wield her power in the one way she has always resisted—entering people’s minds and making them expose their inner thoughts. Should she save her kingdom or stand by her own moral code? 

Then there’s the love interest. Prince Brigan’s mind is one of the few minds strong enough to close Fire out. He seems untouched by her beauty. Here at last might be someone who will see Fire for who rather than what she is. But Prince Brigan hates monsters and mistrusts Fire most of all.

I love Fire because Kristin Cashore created a dynamic, conflicted, empathetic character who has a problem—she’s too beautiful. From this one fact, the story flows.  Hmmm. I think I’ll go read it again.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

The Books I Wish I'd Written (Brian Katcher)


 



I once told my wife that if I were Suzanne Collins, I'd write a prequel to The Hunger Games to tell about how Panem came to be.

No, scratch that. If I were Suzanne Collins, I'd roll around naked on a huge bed of money.

Some books change lives. Some books are heralded as great works of literature. But some books make cash. So if I could have my name on the royalty check for one book, I guess it would have to be...


Quotations from the Chairman. Yes, he murdered hundreds of thousands of Chinese. But he had the good sense to write a book and make its purchase mandatory. To this day, it tops lists of the bestsellers of all time. That's a lot of yuan.

Now my church always says that it is morally wrong to allow suckers to keep their money. That being said, I also kind of wish I'd written...
 

Dianetics. But not his other stuff. Especially not his science fiction. If you want to know what makes a great SF story, it's not lots and lots of necrophilia.  Dear God...

Now my life as a school librarian isn't that exciting, but I shouldn't let that stand in the way of a great memoir.

 

Maybe everything in the book is total BS, but it still sold a lot of copies. Maybe he sold out his integrity, but it sure paid well.

Also, I've always admired Tractmaster Jack Chick:



He's sold millions of these little religious comic books. It's not like I'm NOT going to hell anyway.


Finally, I wish I'd penned this gem:

1d2b945f536a4946d52d277cab6e0760 original

Feeling a little cynical tonight, Brian?

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

The Book I SHOULD Have Written

Before Inconvenient was, well, Inconvenient, it was a 300+ page novel called Voices of the Generations. It told the story of three generations of one Russian-Jewish family--from pre-Stalinist Russia to present day U.S.

There was a lot of good about the story--vivid details, drama, etc. But it was missing something, and there was not enough pulling the stories together. And it didn't flow as well as I would have liked. The part that worked best was the teen character's section, and it inspired me to write a whole story of a Russian-Jewish girl told in a teen's POV. The final product--Inconvenient--did not have any of the same characters as VOG, but the book served its purpose. I learned a lot from VOG--from story structure to pacing and more.

For a long time, I never thought I'd want to go back to VOG. I had no clue how to fix it or where to begin. If I were to rework it, I don't think I would be able to keep any of it, and that's always been fine with me. Lately, though, I'd been thinking about that story more and maybe seeing if I could rewrite it. Then, I read Jodi Picault's The Storyteller and had a lightbulb moment.

She wrote a multi-generational story with multiple character arcs. She also used a fairytale to pull the whole thing together. The more I read the book, the more I realized that she did with that novel what I couldn't figure out how to do with VOG. I thought I'd feel jealous, but it actually inspired me. I started to realize how to fix VOG! Right now, I'm in the middle of a few projects, but eventually I'll go back to VOG and this time, I'll be armed with fresh ideas.


Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Books I Wish I'd Written (Jennifer R. Hubbard)

If you read my blog, you’ve probably already seen my rave about this book:

Someday This Pain Will Be Useful to You, by Peter Cameron













I even wrote an article for NPR books about it, where I described it as a story that acknowledges “that it's awkward to be an introvert in a world of extroverts; that the teen years are usually not the best years of our lives, despite all hype to the contrary; and that it can be terrifying to reach out for the things we want.” It’s exactly the kind of book I would love to have written. Failing that, I continue on my mission to get as many people to read it as possible.

 I write contemporary, realistic novels, and the books I wish I’d written often fall into that category as well. A bunch of them occupy one of my Goodreads shelves, including:

fatkidrulespurity
lovestorydeadsweetheartseveryyou

(If you have trouble reading any of the titles, they are K.L. Going's Fat Kid Rules the World, Jackson Pearce's Purity, Emily Horner's A Love Story Starring My Dead Best Friend, Sara Zarr's Sweethearts, and David Levithan's Every You, Every Me.)

My favorites often tend to be on the darker side—dealing with loss, illness, danger—but many of them also have a rich vein of humor, and of course there is hope. They are bittersweet, just like life itself.

Then there’s this one:

First Day on Earth, by Cecil Castellucci


It starts like a contemporary realistic YA, with the strong voice typical of that genre. But when the character begins talking about being abducted by aliens, you wonder: is this really science fiction? Or is the character just delusional?

I can’t write any of these books, but I'm glad other people did. I take them as examples to enjoy and learn from … and to urge other people to read.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Five Books I Wish I'd Written... Sort of - Kristin Rae

I've been a bad blogger lately! But I've been otherwise preoccupied with THE BOOK LAUNCH! My BOOK (Wish You Were Italian) is actually OUT (as of May 6th) in BOOKSTORES (real ones!) on their SHELVES!


 
My box of author copies!


The pretty gelato colored spines! (Simultaneous hardback and paperback release)


L: Me with fellow Bloomsbury gals Lindsey Leavitt and Emery Lord
R: Mom spotting an early copy at BN

Okay, now that I've flailed! Books I wish I'd written.... 

As some of the other authors here have said, it's important that we all have our own style. Something to set us apart from the next. But of course there are going to be books that I read that make me feel like I can never create something that makes me feel this way, or that's so beautifully written, or or or or the list goes on. Here are a few books that made me both want to work to better myself at the craft of writing, and to quit altogether. 


The Art of Racing in the Rain is one of the most cleverly brilliant and emotional stories I've ever read. All from the perspective of a dog. Ripped my heart out. Some favorite lines: 

"It's frustrating for me to be unable to speak. To feel that I have so much to say, so many ways I can help, but I'm locked in a sound-proof box, a game show isolation booth from which I can see out and I can hear what's going on, but they never turn on my microphone and they never let me out."

"I tried to eat slowly, savoring each bite, but I was too hungry and swallowed them so quickly I barely got to tatse them. What a shame to waste something so wonderful on a dog. Sometimes I hate what I am so much." 


Clockwork Princess. This WORLD and the CHARACTERS. This book destroyed me. I'm simultaneously foaming at the mouth to write a fantasy and too petrified to even start.


Maggie Stiefvater has this way of seeing the world, then translating that into a lovely arrangement of words. Her sentences are so striking, I still remember exactly where I was when I read the first page of Shiver (in my car, waiting for my piano lesson). 


Sometimes after we read a book, we say the most ghastly thing: "I want to crawl inside this author's brain!" Disgusting. But oh to be inside A.G. Howard's brain. The beautiful beautiful way her writing sucks you in to this imaginative world. I devoured this book (and the second one). 


Sarah Addison Allen was my introduction to magical realism. How exactly do you define magical realism, you may ask? This book is the definition. Before reading The Sugar Queen, I thought books had limits. Now I don't. 

Friday, May 23, 2014

i want to write a book like a Wes Anderson movie

The films of Wes Anderson unfold like a book I'd love to write. Each has its own logic—stitched together with tiny details (not unlike Suzy’s house in Moonrise Kingdom. The opening scene is set to The Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra by Benjamin Britton. “…a big piece of music, which is made up of smaller pieces…”

Anderson's stories include a cast of recurring actors or characters, a group of outsiders living in the same universe. This is similar to the way dreams sample and remix our memories. We might recognize a familiar face in a dream. Or snippets of dialogue cut and pasted from real life. In a way, the dream world feels “more real” than our waking lives.

My Anderson-esque book would come with its own soundtrack—classic Rolling Stones, British Invasion, ala the Kinks, the Who…and something familiar, remixed in a new way (like David Bowie in Portuguese)

And it needs at least one epic scene in slow motion (on the page, this moment reads as stream-of-consciousness).

Anderson’s newest film is a postmodern story about storytelling. In The Grand Budapest Hotel, life often seems bleak and futile. But the storyteller (and the hotel concierge) gives it logic and meaning. Not because it exists. But because they choose to make it so.

The storytellers are the true heroes in Wes Anderson’s beautiful films. They are forever optimists, escaping the drudgery of a world that will never keep up with their dreams.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Nancy, Edward, Harry, Adam, and Roarke -- to all the characters I wish I'd created (by Patty Blount)

All this month, we're discussing the books we wish we'd written. As I thought about the very long list of books I've enjoyed, it suddenly occurred it's not so much the books themselves, but certain characters that I wish I'd crafted.

It all began with Nancy Drew. She was the first protagonist I'd ever read by myself, the first chapter book I ever checked out of the library on my own. I was in second grade and insisted my mother buy me 'pumps' and take me out to 'luncheon.' Nancy was everything -- brave, smart, uber-talented at everything she tried. In second grade, it hadn't yet registered that she was too perfect. Reading her stories encouraged me to be braver, willing to try new experiences. It's almost four decades since second grade and I still fondly remember solving mysteries with Nancy.

After Nancy Drew, I turned to romance and cut my teeth on those old Harlequin paperbacks and later, Barbara Cartland stories. You know what I remember about them?

Not much.

The heroines all needed to be saved in some form or another and the heroes all obliged. I can't remember a single character.

Not so with Edward of Twilight. Say what you will -- he's a creepy stalker, he's self-obsessed -- there is something oddly compelling about a century-old character trapped in a teen's life forever. I love that Bella forced him to face the contradictions he'd wrapped around himself -- courtly, gentlemanly and then suddenly, jealous and controlling. I love that Bella was the one who saved him.

Speaking of saviors, let's talk about Harry Potter. I first heard about these books on the news when critics were trying to get them banned because of anti-Christian themes, satanism, witchcraft and so on. Book-banning insults me so naturally, I sought out and read the first three stories that had been published at that time. I adored them. I fell instantly in love with the poor orphan boy and found myself plotting out his next adventure. Anyone who calls these books anti-Christian has clearly never read them; Harry is a Christ figure who must willingly sacrifice himself for the good of all. But aside from all that, Harry as a character is sheer brilliance. A child raised in a unloving environment probably should have become a criminal, a sociopath, but he found his own way, surrounded himself with good strong people who would, eventually, become the family he'd always hoped for. While he was the Chosen One and the Savior, Harry was also very much a human boy, learning to be not only who he was meant to be, but who he wanted to be.

This summer, I've circled the date on my calendar for the movie premiere of If I Stay, by Gayle Forman. I've been Team Adam since I read that book several years ago. I love Where She Went even more, the sequel to If I Stay, told entirely from hero Adam Wilde's point of view. Adam is a rockstar wannabe (who reaches that goal by the second book) and falls for a classical cellist. His character is so strong, I could practically hear the music he played.

Finally, we reach Roarke, of Nora Roberts/JD Robb fame. Ah, Roarke... Christian Grey, Gideon Cross -- all the billionaire heroes -- none of them sizzle for me the way Roarke does. Earlier I mentioned contradictions -- no character I can think of walks a finer line between extremes than Roarke. Ruthless and dangerous, he's also vulnerable and almost ripped in half at Eve's hands in many of these novels, not just the first.

I can think of no greater tribute to an author than for our characters to live in our readers' heads long after they close our books... and hope someday, I am capable of such a feat.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Books That Catapulted Me Back to Hell (I mean, to my teen years) by Jody Casella

Books I wish I'd written? Hmm.

I'm not going to lie, it would be cool to see my name on a best-selling and/or critically-acclaimed book.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by... Jody Casella
The Fault in Our Stars by... YES!!... Jody Casella

But I agree with what Tracy Barrett said in her recent post. I'm content writing what I write and I will let JK Rowling and John Green write the books that they write. (I am sure the two of them would be so relieved to hear that.)

I've been thinking about this topic a lot, though, because there are definitely books that resonate with me, that hit me viscerally, that strike something in me and make me think that, okay, maybe I couldn't have written this book, but oh my God, this writer gets me.

This experience only seems to happen with YA books.

Let me say here that when I was a teen, I NEVER had this experience. The YA pickings were slim way back in the 70's/80's. I devoured books like Flowers in the Attic by V.C. Andrews and Forever by Judy Blume, but I didn't FEEL anything beyond an intense desire never to eat powdered donuts again and a strange fascination that there might be guys who gave their um, penises, nicknames. (Ralph, in case you don't remember.)

These days, I read a lot of YA books. Some, I like. Some, I don't. Some, I think are pretty freaking brilliant and moving.

And then there are a few that from the very first line I am catapulted back to my teenage years. Something about the story, the characters, the voice, the world of the book, hits the part of me that I thought I had long buried.

It all comes rushing back. The angst and fears and loneliness and frustration. As I read, my heart is racing and I am sweating and shivering. I've traveled in a time machine and found myself sitting in my high school cafeteria, alone, because my group of friends has turned on me, and I'm trying to act like I don't care by pretending to do my homework, and I hate how I look, how crappy my hair came out that day and how knobby my knees are and how I have a pimple in the middle of my forehead and I don't have money for lunch and those girls across the room are laughing and I know they are laughing at me.

Yeah. Those books.

They're not books I wish I'd written.

They're the books I wish I had back then. Reminders that I was not the only one who felt alone and angry and depressed. I was not the only one who made stupid choices, who was bullied and who did a bit of bullying, who loved, raged, cared, lived and wanted to die.

It's an incredibly personal thing, the books that break me, the books I wish I could give to my old sad self slumped over in the cafeteria--but here they are, in no particular order:








Thursday, May 15, 2014

The Book I Wish I'd Written (Amy K. Nichols)

This month we’re talking about the book we wish we’d written.

I wish I’d written The Book Thief



But the thing is, books are a bit like fingerprints or eye color. Two authors may write about the same subject (vampires, boy wizards, girls living through WWII) but write two completely different books. Whatever we write is colored by our world views, our heritages, our experiences, our opinions, our hopes and dreams. Even by the stimuli we take in each day. Everything we are and live and breathe has an impact on what we write. 

So, if I had written The Book Thief, it wouldn’t be The Book Thief because I would have written it instead of Marcus Zusak. And the thought of it not being The Book Thief—a book I and so many others adore—just makes me sad. 

So I take it back. 

I don’t wish I’d written The Book Thief. I’m thankful Marcus Zusak did, because he wrote it so well, and as only he could. 

Instead, what I hope to do is learn from The Book Thief how to write a book that is equally as compelling, intriguing and beautiful. And then maybe one day someone will wish they'd written my book and come to the same realization, and so on. 

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Books & Essays I Wish I'd Written (Stephanie Kuehnert)

This month's topic of books we wish we'd written is kind of a hard one for me. At first I was like, well, but I'm satisfied with writing the books I write and I can't imagine telling stories that aren't mine. That is true, but of course there are other writers whose worlds I wish I could play in and whose chops I wish I had, and thinking about that, especially the last part, might help me up my game and figure out what direction I want to go in next. So here are a few of the writers/books/essays that inspire that:


Anyone who knows anything about me saw this one coming. Francesca Lia Block is THE reason I write YA. I wish I could create worlds like she does and I really would just love to hang out with Weetzie. Also, the image above is from Rookie's "Secret Style Icon: Weetzie Bat" in case you'd like to look like Weetzie since you can't write her or be her.



I love Nova Ren Suma's books Imaginary Girls and 17& Gone so much that I can't even decide which I love more. All I know is that Nova writes the kind of books I wish I could. She's a master of magical realism and twisty-turny storytelling, two things I'd really REALLY like to do. And her writing is so gorgeous, so literary. I STRIVE to write as beautifully as she does some day.


Speaking of twisty-turny, E. Lockhart's new one (just out today!), We Were Liars is about as surprising as they come. And the voice, oh goddess, the voice of this story! Yeah, definitely something worth striving for.


When it comes to realistic YA fiction, ie. my favorite thing to read and write, Sara Zarr does it best. She just does. Story of a Girl has been the book I've measured myself by for years. I haven't reached it. I probably never will because Sara is just too freakin' good, but she gives me something to aim for.


Realistic. Meaningful. Multi-layered. Pure literary chops. I don't even know how to begin to describe a book as important as Tell the Wolves I'm Home. I just know I want to write something like it someday.


Uses For Boys not only tells an important story that I loved, the language is so poetic, so precise. Erica Lorraine Scheidt cuts straight to the heart. She can evoke an emotion so intensely in 50 words when it would take me 50 pages. I want to be able to write that way.


Okay, now I've thrown you for a loop, haven't I? The Worst Hard Time is as the subtitle suggests, a non-fiction book about the Dust Bowl. This is a time period I have long been interested in and the book was so well-researched and masterfully written, as alive as any novel. Someday I would like to dig into a topic like this and bring a real story to life. I have no idea where to begin, but it keeps me dreaming.

Finally, and this will also not be a surprise to the people who know me well, I have to say that right now the writing that is inspiring me most, making me wish I wish I’d written it and driving me to up my game and figure out new ways to express myself is on Rookie. There’s Amy Rose Spiegel’s story of her life and pure expression of what it is to be a music fan in her essay abouther Morrissey t-shirt collection. There’s Jenny Zhang's essay on rethinking the appeal of tortured romance (Jenny is also a poet and again has a mastery of language, form and storytelling I can only dream about). Danielle Henderson on fighting self-sabotage. Jessica Hopper (who has long been a writing hero of mine, see also her R Kelly story from the Village Voice that should have won the Pulitzer) on taking her feminism from a place of anger to a place of love. Rachael Prokop on perfectionism. Jamia Wilson on the history of her hair. Gabby Noone's take on the Manic Pixie Dream Girl stereotype. Hazel Cills' totally fucking amazing declaration that she is sick of articles about teenage girls written by grown men--and aren't we all? Pixie Casey's fiction and many stunning essays about mental health/mental illness, especially this one. I was also completely blown away by this tag-team of story-telling between Rose Lichter-Marck and photographer Sandy Honig recording the lives of 4 young women who lived through foster care. Last but certainly not least, there is our Editor in Chief, Tavi Gevinson, whose brilliance continually amazes me. I wish I could THINK like she does. Her most recent editor's letter embodies everything I admire about her. I’m grateful each day to work with such talented women. They are really challenging me to be the best writer I can possibly be.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Books I Wish I'd Written

by Tracy Barrett

When the group decided on the topic of “Books I Wish I’d Written” for this month’s posts, I was excited. There are so many books I love, admire, have learned from—this will be a piece of cake, I thought.

But then when I started to narrow down the list, I realized that it wasn’t as easy as it seemed. Did I wish I’d written Code Name Verity (Elizabeth Wein), my favorite recent YA novel? Well, no, because to do write a meticulously-researched book about young women caught up in the Second World War I’d have to spend lots of time learning about an era that I don’t know much about. It would have taken me years and years!

How about Twilight? I wouldn’t have to worry about paying bills, after all. But then I’d have to admit  to people that I liked populating a world with sparkly boys and vapid girls.

And so on. As it turns out, I can’t separate the writing of a book from the life that has to be led in order to write it, and in order to write anything other than what I do I’d have to turn myself into an entirely different person. Not that this doesn’t appeal sometimes (who wouldn’t like to try out someone else’s life?), but I think I’ll be content with doing the best that I can with who I am and what I create.


p.s. While I’m here—my twentieth (!) book for young readers, The Stepsister’s Tale, will be released in just over a month. It’s garnered its first review, which was a starred one from Kirkus, and there’s a giveaway over on Goodreads. I’ll be doing a blog tour and some other events. Check my Facebook page for details as I have them.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Why I Didn't Write [insert title here] by Sydney Salter

I do kind of wish I'd written Twilight. Even though I've never read it, I have a sneaking suspicion that Stephenie Meyers worries less about money than I do. I bet she could take all the vacations of her dreams. Or--if I'd written Rick Steves' travel guides, going places would be my job!

I'll also admit to some wistful moments about wanting readers to love my books as much as the Harry Potter series (I'm also pretty sure JK Rawlings could book a nice long trip anywhere in the world…). Last summer, my daughter dedicated a few days of summer break to rereading all of Harry Potter for the seventh, eighth time? Why not me? I'd wonder while watching this re-reading process.

Until I had my Harry Potter epiphany.

On a hot July afternoon, my family emerged from an over-airconditioned movie theater, having just watched Harry Potter fight dementors, and I felt that jealous pang, why didn't I think of that?

But then I looked up--and saw this:


My professional writing life developed under Utah's blue skies--five minutes from a waterfall hike. The oldest buildings in my town date from the 1850s. Previous inhabitants are often revered as hard-working pioneer ancestors--and many people still live on the land farmed by their very own great-great grandparents. Cows, horses, sheep, and goats live in my otherwise suburban strip-malled neighborhood. 

The supernatural darkness that lurks in narrow alleys and old buildings with secret passages or hides in attics does not often spring to my mind. Oh, there's plenty of drama here. And the kind of evil that ordinary people do to one another (and themselves). I'm fascinated by those stories. 

So I've let go of wishing I'd written this book, or that book. I'm happy writing the stuff that springs from my own mind, the stuff I want to know more about. 

Yet I would like to travel more…. Rick Steves, if you need help sipping all that wine in sidewalk cafes, please let me know! 




Friday, May 9, 2014

Books I Wish I'd Written.... (Jenny O'Connell)

There are two possible ways to answer this question - the first is books with ideas I wish I'd had, and the second is books that I just love, from the characters to the plot to the story being told. I would say that the books I wish I'd written have less to do with the first and more to do with the second. Rarely do I hear of a story plot or idea and am like, "Oh! Wish I thought of that!" But there are definitely books that I think are just so perfect in so many ways, I wish they'd come from my fingertips. Here they are:

My most favorite book. Ever. Anyone who knows me knows that I am a Norma Klein freak. She was so influential to me growing up. Her books are just kick ass stories with kick ass girls who are so real you'd think Norma was a 17 year old girl growing up in NYC when she wrote them. This book has it all - smart character, unconventional family, first love, stupid choices, lost love, just freaking awesome.

The premise of this book comes as close to a "wish I had that idea" moment as I've come. It is so perfectly executed, though, that I can't even imagine coming as close as Jay Asher did to perfection with this story. The complexity of the story, how it all comes together, the many characters that play a role, I just love it.

 I love Sonya's books, but this one especially so. It's told from the boy's point of view (it's actually a sequel to the book told in the girl's point of view, What My Mother Doesn't Know). As always, her verse is impeccable, the story is captivating and what she does with so few words just blows me away.

When I read the Junie B. Jones' books with my daughter years ago I remember thinking, "Damn, this is funny. And, damn, I love this girl. And, damn, I wish I wrote these books!!!"
This is twisted. An average woman  wakes up one day and decides to basically kill men . In one day she rids the world of rapists, misogynists, just horrible guys. It's British and dark and a very short story. I just loved it.
 Wow. Totally dig this. Cray-cray! Just nuts, love the story telling, the characters, the twisted mind it took to come up with all the tiny details that make this story a page turner. Just brilliant.
Of all the books I read as a child, this has stayed with me the most. A boy plants a seed. He is told by everyone that it won't sprout. He waters it, cares for it, and believes in that little seed. Still, people doubt him and the seed. And then, with his determination and care, it sprouts. So simple. A book that everyone should read and take to heart.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

The Books I Wished I'd Written by Kimberly Sabatini

This month we are talking about the books we wish we'd written. I quickly discovered that this is a difficult topic for me--I have soooo many books I wish I'd written. Universes full of fan-dom. I'm not completely sure how to thin the list down to a manageable size. Every time I think I'm done, I find another book. So, I added books until I had to stop and go pick up my kids. LOL! Random but effective.

Because I can't rank the books on the list by their awesomeness (they are all on the list because they are fabulous) I let the file loader decide the order of presentation.
Drum roll please...



Because who doesn't love Ramona? Seriously--I don't need to say more. A classic.


Because I want to write something brave that makes a difference in the world.



Because I want to write outside of the box--the creativity in this novel is captivating.


Because I love seeing the world through the eyes of someone who is worth knowing better. 


Because the world building is epic and exciting and beautiful.


Because I want to write a book that concretely captures something as elusive as imagination.


(In reference to the whole LUNAR CHRONICLES) Because I've never had so many different characters that I am attached to. Just when I think I couldn't possibly love another--I find the room.


Because I want to write a book that makes ordinary people extraordinary.



Because I want to write a book that teaches people to see with their hearts as much as they see with their eyes.


What book would you have written if you could be a book thief? Oh, wait--The Book Thief. Let's add that one to the list.