RTW: One Moment In Time

It’s Road Trip Wednesday time again! You know the drill by now: someone from YA Highway posts the question, and we all respond on our blogs. We then post a link to our blog responses in the YA Highway comments, and then spend the day reading and commenting on each other’s answers. Well, maybe not the whole day. I guess it depends how busy you are, how close you are to that editorial deadline, how big that pile of laundry is, etc.

Here’s what they’re asking today at YA Highway: “A long-awaited kiss, a surprise ending, a character’s sudden decision…  these are the moments that make us smile, gasp, and LOVE a book for the rest of our lives. What is your favorite literary moment?

I think for me, it’s those game-changing moments. The big reveal. It might be a secret you’ve known about for pages that the MC is just about to find out, or it may be a surprise to everyone. The “You’re a wizard, Harry!” moment. Even though we knew that before opening the book, for Harry that was the moment he knew, after years of abuse and neglect, that he really was special. Or the moment in GOBLET OF FIRE, when Harry and Cedric grabbed the goblet–and it’s a portkey! Woah! Did you see that coming? That was a good example of the unexpected game-changer (for me, anyway). Another example of the “we knew this all along, but this is going to be a big reveal for someone else” moment that I enjoy was the moment in GOLIATH, the third book in Scott Westerfeld’s LEVIATHAN series, when Deryn tells Alek that she’s a girl (that shouldn’t be a spoiler–if you’ve read the blurbs you knew that was coming). If you know nothing about this series, you may wonder what the fuss is about. Read the Goodreads blurb on LEVIATHAN and you’ll understand. Then buy the series and read them. They’re excellent!

Okay, so there’s my answer. How about you? What’s your favorite literary moment? You can answer here, or better still, answer on your blog (if you have one), and post a link to it on the YA Highway blog.

42 thoughts on “RTW: One Moment In Time

  1. Jaime

    I would love to read that scene, which is why I need to get down to business and read those books already! There are just too many books to read πŸ˜€

    Reply
    1. cds Post author

      It’s one of the reasons I like the LEVIATHAN series so much more than UGLIES. From the moment they meet, you just know at some point Deryn’s going to have to tell Alek… but she has so many reasons not to. And the anticipation for that moment builds from book to book. I don’t want to give too much away, but with all the other cool and scary stuff going on in the story, this undercurrent of untold secrets keeps you turning pages through all three novels. Seriously one of, if not *the* best series I’ve read since Harry Potter. Get down to business, Jaime! πŸ˜‰

      Reply
  2. Miss Cole

    I *love* big reveals that blow my mind so much I can’t stay quiet.

    Also, random note, that’s the first time I’ve seen that image of Hagrid that isn’t some kind of meme πŸ˜‰

    Reply
    1. cds Post author

      I know! And you want to tell people, but you also want those people to read the book so you can’t tell them because it’ll spoil it… so you have to find people who have already read the book so you can *squeee* with them! Yeah, been there. πŸ™‚

      Reply
  3. EVe

    Oh I heart the Harry Potter ones. Yes the port key didn’t see that one coming. I haven’t read the Leviathan books yet but they are on my list.

    Reply
    1. cds Post author

      I cannot recommend LEVIATHAN highly enough. Read them soon to avoid that “why didn’t I read these years ago?!” feeling. πŸ™‚

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    1. cds Post author

      Even though I didn’t like UGLIES as much as LEVIATHAN, it is still very good, so I’d agree with the Westerfeld comment–at least the stuff of his I’ve read so far. πŸ™‚

      Reply
  4. Daisy Carter

    Love game-changing moments! And these are all great examples. I felt the same way about the portkey. Totally shocked me. Um, I have only read the first in the Leviathan series. Book two is on my TBR. So many books, so little time. And, yes, the pile of laundry awaits… πŸ™‚

    Reply
    1. cds Post author

      This is one of the cool things about the way Rowling plotted the Potter books. She introduces ideas and devices that at the time seem interesting, but they take on a whole new significance later. The Polyjuice Potion in book 2 seemed like a fun way for Ron and Harry to try–and fail–to get info. In book 4, it takes on a whole new sinister purpose. And the portkey in book 4 started out as a funny but innocuous means of wizard travel. Suddenly, at the end, it becomes an unexpected means for Harry and Voldemort to have a showdown.

      I hope you enjoy the rest of LEVIATHAN as much as I did. Believe me, books 2 and 3 are at least as good as book 1. πŸ™‚

      Reply
      1. Daisy Carter

        I saw around the bloghop that you’re asking whether books 2 and 3 are as good as the Hunger Games, so I thought I’d stop by and give my two cents! πŸ™‚ No spoilers, promise!

        For me, books 2 and 3 were just natural extensions of book 1, so to ask if they are better or darker or whatever is a moot point. You don’t stop reading a book at the turning point, right? We kept reading long after Harry boards the train to Hogwarts because the story had just begun. In the Hunger Games series, Catching Fire is very much the black moment, and Mockingjay is very much the climax.

        John Cusack’s quote from Serendipity comes to mind: “Godfather, Part II. That was an incredible movie. Might be better than the original…But no matter how much you love The Godfather, Part II, you still have to see the original…to understand and appreciate the sequel, don’t ya?”

        I think the mirror opposite of this quote is also true. You don’t really appreciate Godfather, part I completely until you’ve seen part II. Same for Hunger Games. So, wait until after the movie if you must. But know that the best (as in higher stakes, more tension, more world-building) is yet to come!

        Reply
  5. April Smith

    I think that it is interesting that sometimes the “aha!” moment comes not for us the reader, but for the main character and we still get excited. A series by Donna Andrews that I read had something like that for me. It was probably not meant to be a surprise just to the MC, but I accidentally read the 7th book before the 1st book (I thought I was reading the 1st book–I didn’t understand that the publisher was listing other books in the series by the most recently published not the order they were written). So when I read the 1st book, I could hardly wait for the MC to find out the truth, and I just grinned like my daughter had just had her first kiss!

    Reply
    1. cds Post author

      I should probably read some of those Donna Andrews books sometime. Do you think you’ll grin when our daughter has her first kiss? Or will you cry? πŸ™‚

      Reply
  6. Melanie

    I remember waiting and waiting for that moment when Deryn tells Alek that she’s a girl. I even flipped ahead so I could find out how far into the book it was- not that I read it, I just wanted to know when I’d get to it.

    You asked on my blog about Catching Fire and Mockingjay. By far I enjoyed Hunger Games the most. I remember being a little disappointed by Mockingjay although I can’t remember why now, so I’m interested to see what I think this second time. I can tell you though that I think I’m enjoying all of them more this second time around. Maybe because they were the first dystopian i’d ever read and I don’t favor that genre but now that I’ve read a lot of it, I can see why Hunger Games are at the tops.

    Anyway, you should read them yourself and see. I’ve heard some love Mockingjay the most, so it’s all a matter of opinion.

    Reply
    1. cds Post author

      And I recall that the way Westerfeld built up to that moment, Alek’s reaction could really have gone either way… but I’ll say no more, for the sake of those who have yet to read the series. πŸ™‚

      Thanks for your thoughts on CF and M. I always intended to read them, I’m just trying to psych myself up for either further enjoyment or huge disappointment. I would love the former, but fear the latter. You’ve given me a little more confidence in the former. πŸ™‚

      Reply
  7. Liz Parker

    I tried to pick a Harry Potter moment but there are SO MANY! I think you picked some of the best ones. Can I just pick the entire ORDER OF THE PHOENIX as a literary moment? Please?

    Reply
    1. cds Post author

      Ooo… an ORDER OF THE PHOENIX fan? I must say, that’s probably my least favorite of the series, mainly because I think it needed editing. There’s a lot of stuff, especially in all the pre-Hogwarts chapters, that don’t really advance the story, and are just JKR playing in the sandbox she’s created. Which is fun, and the fans love it… but you could probably cut 100-200 pages from that book and not lose plot. But that’s my take. It’s still a good book, and I’ve re-read it many times (and will probably re-read it many times).

      My favorite of the series is PRISONER OF AZKABAN. That moment when Harry believes his father conjured the patronus… come on, you thought so too, didn’t you? I know I harbored the hope it could be. Imagine–the Marauders all together again! πŸ™‚

      Reply
      1. Mrs. S

        With HP, I feel like there are two different series–the first three, and the last four. PoA is my favorite of the first three, hands down, but it feels very much like a middle grades novel. I think OOtP might be my favorite of the second set, but DH is so fantastic–ugh. It’s way too hard to pick. All I know is that CoS is my least favorite, partially just because I’ve read it way too many times.

        Reply
        1. cds Post author

          JKR thinks the image of Quirrel sharing a head with Voldemort is one of the scariest of the whole series, so she might not agree with your division. But I see what you mean. And it makes sense there would be that kind of transition since Harry grows from MG to YA, and the books grow with him. There’s a lesson in voice there, I think. πŸ™‚

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  8. Robin Moran

    I kept thinking of Harry Potter moments. Have to admit that JK Rowling kept the shocks and twists coming. And when we knew that a death or a kiss was coming, we were still on the edge of our seats waiting for it to happen.

    Reply
    1. cds Post author

      Given the amount of story there is in HP, it’s so easy to find examples there–especially for YA writers. πŸ™‚ And there are so many good examples of how to do things well. πŸ™‚

      Reply
  9. Elodie

    OK…I am finally adding LEVIATHAN to my TBR. Every time you mention it, it just sounds so intriguing…

    I also quite enjoy the big reveals πŸ˜€

    Reply
    1. cds Post author

      Yay! You won’t regret it, Elodie, I promise! And you may as well add BEHEMOTH and GOLIATH to the list too, ‘cos when you’ve finished LEVIATHAN, you’ll want to read on. πŸ™‚

      Reply
  10. Crystal

    The portkey was a great moment! Snape killing Dumbledore was another awesome unexpected game-changer. And when Harry realizes that Snape loved Lily. Rowling totally mastered the twistiness.

    Reply
    1. cds Post author

      And not just that Snape loved Lily, but how much–that he would go through all this because he loved a woman he never had, and could never have. JKR kept us guessing so often, and did it so well. πŸ™‚

      Reply
    1. cds Post author

      Oh, yes… as a writer, I love it when I write that scene, that moment when I know everything changes from this point. It might be a big reveal, or it might be something smaller that has greater impact later, but *I* know how significant it is, and I write with a grin on my face. πŸ˜€

      Reply
  11. Julie Dao

    Great choice! The big reveal is one of my favorite literary moments as well. I also like the “twist” at the climax of the novel, like when you realize the character’s best friend is actually an enemy spying on them for secrets, or that a villain isn’t dead. Especially if it catches me off guard!

    Reply
    1. cds Post author

      Thanks, Julie! I’ve found that the more I read, and the older I get (birthday coming up), the more I can get a sense of where a story’s going in terms of plot. Because of this, I appreciate surprises a lot more, especially if they make sense. That was one of the things I liked best about UNRAVELING by Elizabeth Norris (coming out at the end of next month): the big reveal was something that made complete sense, but I didn’t even begin to anticipate. πŸ™‚

      Reply
  12. Angelica R. Jackson

    Oh good pick with the Goliath reveal. You do know it’s coming, but the way you’re strung along is just gleeful torture. Made me think of The Book Thief and how Death tells you straight out that Rudy is going to die, but when you see it play out it’s still so heartbreakingly beautiful.

    Reply
    1. cds Post author

      Thanks, Angelica! And there’s the way you can tell other characters in the book have picked up on her secret without actually saying anything. Very well written. πŸ™‚

      Reply
  13. Mrs. S

    Ok, I’m thinking I’ll finally get around to books two and three in the Leviathan series during spring break–I have them in hard cover, because I loved the first one so much that I had to buy the second one as soon as it came out, but that’s not terribly conducive to train reading. But I did really love the first one, so I’m glad you reminded me I’ve been meaning to get back to them πŸ™‚

    Reply
    1. cds Post author

      I’m glad to be of service prompting your memory to read two fantastic books, Mrs. S. πŸ™‚

      I have the first two in paperback but GOLIATH in hc because it wasn’t out in pb yet, but I couldn’t wait… these books are so good, I defied my natural urge to buy the series in like-kind (all pb or all hc)!! Of course, I’ll have to get the first two in hc now… πŸ™‚

      Reply
  14. Amber

    Harry Potter changed a lot for me. I went from readilng dry, post-modern literary back to the stuff I love…coming of age stories, magic, science fiction! Harry Potter wasn’t just a lot of fun, it was really well written. There were so many moments in that series that were favorites.

    Reply
    1. cds Post author

      Harry Potter changed a lot for many people. I think one of the key elements of J K Rowling’s success with Harry Potter is her tenacity–the fact that she stuck with the story in her head despite her growing fame and the opinions of her legion of fans. It was always the story first. Even if the story grew dark; even if popular characters died; even if romance blossomed between characters we didn’t expect. She was going to write the stories she believed in regardless. And that resonated with other writers, especially.

      Thanks for your comment, Amber! πŸ™‚

      Reply
  15. katharine owens

    Colin- I’ve been out of the loop and too overwhelmed by work to do the YAhwy lately, but I wanted to check in with you!
    These are great examples– the portkey moment was so cool (and as a complement to that, finding out the real Mad Eye was in a trunk, and not the guy who’d been so encouraging all along…)
    i have not read past Leviathan, but I love those characters– will have to check out the rest of that series.
    Hope you’re well!

    Reply
    1. cds Post author

      Hi, Katharine! Thanks for checking in. πŸ™‚

      That moment, when we’re told that the Mad Eye we’d grown to like throughout the story was not all he seemed to be–that was a shock. I remember feeling a bit disappointed, thinking that I’d spent 600-odd pages getting to know the wrong character! Perhaps Mad Eye wasn’t really like that? But as it turns out, the deception wouldn’t have worked if Mad Eye had acted too contrary to character. Still, it was a good moment.

      I’m doing fine. I hope you’re well, too, and that you get some relief from the work load soon. πŸ™‚

      Reply
  16. Lora

    There were so many fabulous Harry Potter moments! The triwizard trophy being a portkey was a major surprise, a major game changer.

    Reply
    1. cds Post author

      Wasn’t it? I didn’t see it coming at all, and yet Rowling sowed the seeds of the possibility early on in the book. Very cleverly done. πŸ™‚

      Reply
  17. Donelle Lacy

    Playing catchup from last week’s RTW, but I just have to say: I love that our posts are almost identical! I used the “You’re a wizard, Harry!” moment too! (and that image of Hagrid)

    I have to agree with you that the reveal is big for me. I also love it when a character finally comes into their own, discovers their power, their strength, their ‘big secret purpose’ etc. My response is here: http://dverted.blogspot.com/2012/03/rtw-those-magic-moments.html

    Reply
    1. cds Post author

      That *is* cool! So, do you prefer the “you’re a wizard Harry” moment from the book or from the movie? I think I mentioned in the comments on your blog that this is one instance where I actually prefer the movie. I love Harry’s look of bewilderment, and the whole “but… I’m just Harry!” It does such a great job of showing Harry’s character, especially if you contrast that with Tom Riddle’s reaction in the flashback in book 6 when Dumbledore tells him he’s a wizard.

      Reply

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