Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Inspiration Black Hole

Hey guys.

sorry I've been a little bit MIA from the blog again!  Between planning a wedding, keeping my day job, and the start of summer, I haven't had a chance to even come up with an entry topic!

Which is why I'm opening up the lines to you guys now.  Tell me what to write about.  I'll write about ANYthing you say, so be daring. :)

Look forward to your ideas (that I will steal and make my own! jk)


Friday, May 6, 2011

One Paragraph Review of Red Glove

For anyone who follows me on Twitter, you know that I loved this book.  So if you're looking for an unbiased, non-gushy review, just a warning that you won't get that here!  My apologies.

If you don't already know, Red Glove is the sequel to Holly Black's White Cat, the first book of the Curse Workers series.  We continue to follow the main character, Cassel Sharpe as he tries to figure out where he fits between his mob family, best friend/crush (who, incidentally, is the daughter of the mob boss), and prep school.  I'll be honest.  I almost didn't read this book.  I read White Cat on the recommendation of a friend, and it was good, but not jump up and down good.  So I wasn't sure about the sequel.  Let's just say I am glad I picked it up!  Holly manages to weave together so many intricate plot threads to create such a layered and surprising climax that it's impossible to put the book down until you Know What Happens.  And, thought the plot is AMAZING, it's not just that that keeps you reading.  I think the strongest piece of this book was the character development.  While I found the characters slow to reveal themselves in the first book, this book was full of rich, colourful characters that it was so easy to love, hate, worry about, and not want to leave.  I found Holly's depiction of Cassel's mother and her relationship with him phenomenal.  As I mentioned in my previous review, so many books leave the characters and their relationships one-sided, but here we can see Cassel's love for his mother while we also see his embarrassment and mistrust.  He doesn't just hate her or love her, he *feels* for her, authentically.  In short, Red Glove was strong on plot, character development, suspense, and even romance.  Also, I learned a lot about how to con my friends. :)  Definitely worth a read!

Front to back time: Two days

Favourite character: Cassel's mum, with his friend Sam as a close runner up.  Sam really came through in this novel, and Cassel's mum, as I said above, is just incredibly realistic.

Musical Accompaniment: My headphones broke! :( so the only thing I read this to was coffee-shop background noise. :)  But if I had to choose, something with a brass section would go great.

Overall Rating: 9/10  I know, I know.  Even better than Ship Breaker.  Yes.  We're just going to have to accept that I have a 3 pt rating system, since it's all either 8, 9, or 10 out of 10. :)  Adjust accordingly!

Now, have you guys read this?  Let me know what you think about this one OR White Cat!  Time to go twiddle my fingers for a year and pull out my hair until the third book is released!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

mother mother

Check out this band if you get a chance. They rock!
Published with Blogger-droid v1.6.7

Confronting High School

"These strange steps take us back, take us back..."
-Yeah Yeah Yeahs

People have been asking me lately why I'm writing so much YA and Middle Grade instead of more adult fiction.  (Especially my mom, who somehow thinks writing YA is easier and that I'm just looking to not work as hard.  Pshaw, I tell her.)

The answer eluded me until recently.  I mean, when I picked up to really start writing a book, I just found it was a teen voice with a teen situation - it wasn't even a conscious decision.  But, last week, I figured out where the real reason lies.  I'm still, in a lot of ways, stuck in high school.

A couple weeks ago, I was at one of my favourite live music venues and a flier for this band caught my eye.  The singer of this band was someone I used to go to school with...over ten years ago.  Now, I went to high school in North Carolina, a far cry from Vancouver, where I am now.  So, of course, I wanted to go!

But then, the day hit.  I woke up before my alarm, having been thrust awake by a nightmare in which I went up to greet the old friend and he was like, "Uh...who are you?"  So, the whole day my anxiety grew about this supposedly exciting encounter.

See, when I was in high school, I was 2 parts weird and 1 part lame.  0 parts cool.  I had a lot of cool friends - one of my best friends was the head cheerleader (blonde, thin, popular), and the other one always managed to hang out with the older alternative crowd that I so longed to break into.  But, I was just a little fringy, in enough that I got invited to some of the parties, but annoying enough that no one wanted to hang out with me once I was there.  This sounds like self deprecation, but really it's not.  Okay, it is.  A bit. :)  See!  I told you I was still in high school!  Anyway, the long and the short of it is that I was SO desperate to be accepted that I tried my best to act like everyone else, and for awhile I lost myself.  (My REAL self, who is 3 parts cool and 0 parts weird and lame, by the way.  Well, maybe 2.5 parts cool and .5 parts weird!)

Anyway, the point is, I was never really Friends-with-a-capital-F with this lead singer guy.  I just kind of knew him...and he may have dated 3 or 4 of my friends over the course of 5 years.  So, as the night drew near, the panic grew.

And then, we went (myself--the real one--and my fiance) to the show.  I approached lead-singer-guy, who TOTALLY remembered who I was and seemed to think it was pretty neat that I was there, and I introduced the fiance.  He introduced his wife.  All things told, it was quite the success.  We've both come a long way from high school, and I realized some insecurities are worth letting go of.  Not to mention that there are different angles to every picture.  Lead-singer-boy didn't seem to remember me as a 2 parts weird 1 part lame, annoying girl at all.  (I mean, I didn't ask, but I think I'd have picked up on that, no? :) )

Another thing I learned, and that I keep on learning all the time, is that NO one feels completely comfortable in their skin in high school and NO one is immune to self consciousness in those teenage years.  What got me through was the fact that I could always disappear into a book, and the characters always knew exactly how I felt...even when it seemed like no one else in the real world did.

So, I write YA because I know that feeling of outsider-ness and through the eventual successes of my originally flawed, lost, and struggling characters, I want to show teens that there's a light at the end of the tunnel.  ...and sometimes I need a little reminder too. :)

So, tell me, dear readers, am I totally off?  Were you completely confident and popular in high school without a care in the world? :)