Friday, October 05, 2007


I haven't been writing, given that the world's most active baby is nearly always with and/or on me, but I've been reading some.

First, I've been reading the short stories in 21 Proms, partly as a quick way to get exposed to the writing of some YA authors I haven't read before, as well as to read new things by writers I already knew. I've been skipping around (randomly, not purposefully) and haven't finished it yet, but so far, my favorites have been the ones by Sarah Mlynowski (written in second person!), E. Lockhart, and John Green. A few others I found very intriguing, including some, like those by Adrienne Maria Vretand and Will Leitch, which read more like adult literary short stories to me than typical YA fiction (especially Leitch's, as it's told from the father's perspective).

Second, I finally read Lauren Barnholdt's book Reality Chick, which I bought ages ago but just came across when organizing my bookshelves. The subject matter isn't weighty (which is fine with me) and the language was a bit in-your-face for me at times, but it kept me reading, and I Iiked the ending. 

Third, yesterday I read E. Lockhart's latest novel, Dramarama, about a summer theatre camp. I don't think I liked it as much as some of her other books, especially The Boyfriend List (I missed the footnotes!), but it seemed like a must-read book since I did theatre thoughout junior high and high school. Even though on the outside, I'm very different from the main character Sadye (she's tall and brash; I'm short and quiet), I identified with her singing problems and her feelings of not quite having what it took--while still loving every minute. When her acting teacher lectured her at humiliating length about never being late to rehearsal or otherwise acting unprofessional, I actually read the whole page and a half aloud to my husband, saying, "See, this is what I learned in drama!" because I've mentioned to him a thousand times how, if nothing else, theatre drilled into me to honor my commitments, and it's a lesson a lot of people in this world apparently didn't get growing up. The (initial) ending of the book almost crushed me for a moment, and surprised me. It was more real than I expected! And I so related. The epilogue-type chapter after that, all in dialogue like a few previous sections (a nice touch in a book about plays), didn't seem necessary to me as an adult reader, but I think I would have really wanted that part in there if I was still 16.

I went to the Borders Express store in the mall tonight. Even that tiny bookstore has a large YA section now. I was looking at all the books, and suddenly realized that the kind of small paperback YA novels I always read when I was growing up, the kind I imagined my own name on someday, have been replaced almost entirely by large trade paperbacks. There are also so many hardcover YA books for sale these days, when they seemed rather rare in my own teen years. Basically, there are hardcovers, and then there are paperbacks in approximately the same page size as the hardcovers. The paperbacks are very high quaity these days, and I particularly love the ones with the smooth, non-glossy covers, but it still seems weird that it's just not what I ever pictured. I suddenly wasn't sure my books would fit there. I wondered if I should concentrate more on my midgrades, because the midgrade section looked more comfortably familiar somehow. Not that I'd really change my writing for that reason; it just struck me. Though I did note that if I had a book for sale there, I'd be shelved between the A-List books and Sarah Dessen, and that couldn't be bad for getting people's eyes on my books!

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