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Showing posts from August, 2013

New Novels in Verse

I enjoy novels in verse. So, when I received both Salt by Helen Frost and The Weight of Water by Sarah Crossan, I decided to read them one after the other to compare and contrast! Both are novels in verse (obviously), both are written by women who are mostly known for their YA work, and yet both are for the younger set.

Salt will perhaps get more notice. It’s historical fiction and Helen Frost is probably the more well-known author. But I didn’t like it as much. The story is told in alternating poems by the two protagonists: Anikwa, 12, is a member of the Miami tribe and James, also 12, is an American boy. We are on the verge of the War of 1812 in the Indiana Territory. Anikwa’s poems look like “patterns of Miami ribbon work,” according to the author, while James poems are like stripes on a flag. It’s a nice conceit and works well. Unfortunately, the conflict between the characters (war is coming, whom can you trust?) is set up and resolved rather quickly. And there are a lot of stereo…

Mystery Writers F and G

So thrilled to be up to "F." If I had remembered I was up to "F," I would have written this post sooner.

10. Gillian Flynn
I know everyone is excited about Gone Girl and how it's going to be made into a Major Motion Picture, but if you have the time, read Flynn's first two novels. They are so much better. I don't consider myself a reader of thrillers -- remember, I like police procedurals (and I enjoy a good night's sleep) -- but Dark Places and Sharp Objects are so well-written and tightly plotted they converted me. Sharp Objects was Flynn's first novel and was an Edgar Award finalist (it also taught me that southerners often put syrup on pork projects, which is a very tasty thing). Dark Objects is probably a little better, just as suspenseful and rich with characterizations. And it too is being made into a movie. Flynn's stories don't always have likeable protagonists (see Gone Girl). But that fact just adds to the storytelling. I do te…