It’s blog meme mash-up time! I’m combining today’s YA Highway Road Trip Wednesday with Jaime and Erin‘s What’s Up Wednesday meme. Why? Why not! Both are good memes, and I want to do them both. And it so happens that this week’s RTW falls nicely into the first WUW question:
What I’m Reading (AKA: Book of the Month for July, 2013)
This month has been a pretty dismal reading month. Not that the books I read were terrible, but there wasn’t one that really pulled me in and got me talking about it all over Twitter and your blogs (and this one). And usually there’s at least one book that gets a 5-star review and some “gotta-read-this” chatter from me. That said, I read one book that I think is worthy of being crowned Book of the Month, despite its flaws. And that book is…
I AM NUMBER FOUR by Pittacus Lore. Let’s get the controversy over with first. Pittacus Lore is a group pseudonym for James Frey and Jobie Hughes. Yes–that James Frey of A MILLION LITTLE PIECES infamy. I know this would be off-putting for some from the get-go, and I understand that. My take is, this is a work of fiction, and he’s not trying to palm it off as fact. And from what I’ve read, most of the criticism against Mr. Frey was over his lies and deceit, not over the quality of his writing. With that in mind, I decided to give him a break and give the book a chance. And overall, it’s a good book. I couldn’t fault it technically, and especially found the finale engaging and page-turning.
I described what the book is about in last week’s WOW. (However, I messed up the numbers: there are more than nine who escape Lorien. Nine of those that escaped are of a special class of being that will eventually develop powers–Legacies–that can be used to defeat their enemies. Each of the nine has a guardian/mentor. It is the nine that the enemy is targeting, and of these, they have killed three. John Smith is number four.) My interest in it was because it’s about an alien on Earth, like my current project. However, this made me particularly sensitive to issues I’m grappling with. For one thing, it bothered me that the only way you know John is an alien is by his abilities. There’s nothing in his mannerisms, his word choices, or any subtleties of character that would indicate he’s not human. And I just didn’t buy some of the back story explanations. For example, all of Earth’s major geniuses were the offspring of Lorien. Really? And the Lorien people gave us language (despite the fact that English is a hybrid language–Germanic-Latin-Greek-French-etc–so they wouldn’t have just given us “English”). But the characters are, on the whole, good, and the story is fairly strong. Moreover–and this is what makes it a four-star book, and worthy of Book of the Month–I wouldn’t say no to reading the next book in the series.
There’s some profanity, mainly the “s” word, but not too often, so I’d rate it PG-15.
What I’m Writing
Still working on edits to the current project, though with a little more panic in my typing because I’ve realized that WriteOnCon is only a few weeks away, and I want to have something for the query critique and pages critique forums. If you don’t know what WriteOnCon is, visit the website. In short, it’s a two-day writing conference geared toward authors of “children’s literature” (i.e., picture books through YA). It takes place online, so you don’t have to go anywhere, and it’s free, so you don’t have to pay anything. There will be agents and other industry professionals giving talks, and lots of fun events. This’ll be my third year, and I’m looking forward to it. I hope to see you there.
What Inspires Me Right Now
ABBA lyrics. Seriously. If you know anything about the story I’m editing, you’ll understand what I mean.
What Else I’ve Been Up To
UPDATE: Oh My G-Dragon (K-Pop reference there–thank you SecondBorn)!! My entry in Janet Reid’s contest was selected as a finalist. I didn’t win, but with so many great entries to choose from, it’s an honor to be considered one of the top six. Janet says she’s running another contest this weekend. I seriously recommend you give it a go; it’s such a lot of fun.
How’s your week been?