Thursday, December 18, 2008

Reading Round-Up

I've been doing a ton of reading that isn't very valuable (on the surface), but here's a quick round-up of five books I've read in the past month with a rationalization for why the book was necessary reading.

Doing It by Melvin Burgess - I picked this book up at Barnes & Noble. This guy, a British fellow, gets a lot of critical acclaim for his writing--it's honest and believable stuff about young adults (plus, this particular book was spawned into a short-lived series by the geniuses that brought up the other great short-lived series Freaks and Geeks). I decided to buy and read this book because, in my writing, I'm wondering if I got the teenage male voice right... not ever having been a teenage male, I wasn't sure that what I thought they were thinking about lust and love and what-not was really accurate. Seeing as how Burgess used to be a teenage male, I wanted to hear what he had to say. The book was very funny and parts were really moving and the range of emotions that young guys go through deserves more attention.

Let It Snow by John Green, Maureen Johnson, and Lauren Myracle - I originally checked this book out from the library because I wanted to do some holiday reading and figured I'd double up with doing more research about reading other good (i.e., well-received) YA authors. I ended up really liking this book which is three short stories that interweave to tell three different stories of holiday romance. The only drawback was that by the third story you already know what's going to happen, it's set up in the first story, which was a bummer... Myracle got the short-end of the stick on this one. Anyway, I liked the book and ended up buying it for myself for my birthday; I think I'll probably come back to this each Christmas season to get that Christmas-y feeling.

Anatomy of a Boyfriend by Daria Snadowsky - I bought this book at the 1/2 Price bookstore because on the day after Thanksgiving I got a $5 coupon and it was the only thing in the store that I could find (while fighting with the other 1 million people who were in the store) that seemed to be any good in the YA section. [I've been doing the YA reading thing to work more on getting the "voice" of teenagers for my writing so it doesn't come across as a 30-year-old talking like a teenager.] Anyway, the idea of this book was cute, but the anatomy thing got to be a little old in my opinion--she kept describing things in graphic detail (I did this, I touched that, it moved like this, it looked like that) and it lost some of the emotion that a lot of good YA romances have because of the technical nature of the book.

When It Happens by Susane Colasanti - I bought this book, again as research, because it was written in alternating viewpoints between a guy and a girl, and I wanted to see about this (it's something I've been monkeying with in my book and I wanted to see how she transitioned... different fonts and chapter titles). Anyway, the book was super quick to read (I read it in 1/2 a day) and it was a much-appreciated change from Anatomy of a Boyfriend, which I'd just finished reading the day before... it didn't have the technical sex jargon, it was much more about feelings and illusions to romantic acts. All around, much more enjoyable than the previous book. I'd actually recommend this book, it was cute and did a great spin on the lovers from different worlds story (plus, it makes the jocks look like jerks, which I love).

With this Ring, I'm Confused by Kristin Billerbeck - My local Christian book store was having a liquidation sale, so I bought this book which is the third (and final) installment of the Ashley Stockingdale series. I had read the previous two a couple of years back and then gotten off the series because Billerbeck was a little too churchy-preachy for me (granted, I'm a Christian, but rather than you coming right out and telling me what she's struggling with and how she's overcoming it, or not, just let me figure it out on my own). Anyway, I decided it might be good to read how somebody else is writing about virtue and waiting... something that I did not find in hardly any of the afore-mentioned YA novels. Billerbeck's still super preach-y, but Dr. Kevin Novak is a dream, and if you're in to Christian chick lit, you can't get much better than Billerbeck.

There you go, that was a heaping helping of super fast book reviews. Happy Holidays!


~Kylee in CT said...

Just wanted to add my $0.02. If you do use the alternating POV method in your book, I really appreciate something obvious that lets me know that the POV has changed. At the very least a heading (John - Sally). I recently read one particular novel that flashed back to the narrators childhood with no warning and it really put me off of it.

Heather said...

Thanks for the tip! I love the feeback (I'm so needy when it comes to the comments).