Where I tell you a little about what works me
and you tell me a lot about what works for you.
I believe as writers, we have all heard the advice read your genre. I have heard arguments for the opposite, but I agree. In order to have an understanding of appropriate language and pace, you need to know what works, and what doesn't.
My current WIP is a middle grade novel called The Lemonade Stand. I have recently read two MG books and one worked for me on levels beyond what I was looking for and the other was an example of what I don't want to do. I don't want anyone to think I am saying that I learned what not to do, just what not to do to get the results that I want. Yeah.
First, I read The Name of this Book is Secret by Pseudonymous Bosch. The cover is great, the author's pen name is brave, and I love the title.
Here is the premise via Goodreads:
When adventurous detectives, Cass, an ever-vigilant survivalist, and Max-Ernest, a boy driven by logic, discover the Symphony of Smells, a box filled with smelly vials of colorful ingredients, they accidentally stumble upon a mystery surrounding a dead magician's diary and the hunt for immortality.
Filled with word games, anagrams, and featuring a mysterious narrator, this is a book that won't stay secret for long.For me, the premise oversold the book by a long shot. I thought I was holding a Lemony Snicket and The Mysterious Benedict Society cousin in my hands, but it ended up being a whiny, immature wannabe, kind of like a third cousin, that you hope with be thrice removed one day.
Every fifty pages the mysterious narrator would state that is is just too dangerous for her to continue and for our safety she must spare us. Hi, even the eight year olds reading this book can tell the remaining two hundred pages have to be about something.
Okay, it wasn't all bad, and I hate that phrase, but it's true. There was high (and low) quality wit. There were characters that you genuinely liked, they just were not 3D enough to love. The story fell as flat as the pages did when I finally closed the book and sighed, wishing I had picked something else to spend a week on.
Overall, I give The Name of this Book is Secret 3/5. I am intrigued to read the second book and see if the rest of the story forces itself off the pages and into my heart.
And now for the good review:
Every Soul a Star by Wendy Mass
From the front flap:
Ally likes the simple things in life- labyrinths, stargazing, and comet hunting. Her home, the Moon Shadow campground, is a part of who she is. She refuses to imagine it any other way.
Popular, gorgeous (everybody says so), and a future homecoming queen for sure, Bree wears her beauty like a suit of armor. but what is she trying to hide?
Overweight and awkward, Jack is used to spending a lot of time alone. But when opportunity knocks, he finds himself in situations he would never would have imagined.Mass brings these three separate characters and constructs a well-thought out and brilliantly explained story of self-discovery and friendship. Mass describes everything in the right detail and allows you to not only see the Moon Shadow campground, but to breathe it, your skin will prickle. When it comes time for the eclipse, you will be emotional and eager. Just like with the eclipse, the last fifty pages flash by and last a lifetime.
When I finished , I felt convinced that I was a fourth narrator and had just made lifelong friends. 5/5
The next MG book on the docket is The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Prisoner's Dilemma by Trenton Lee Stewart. I loved the first two, so I cannot wait for this one. That'll be after I finish Fire, Going Bovine, and Hush, Hush. Why all the YA's? Cuz I have YA WIP's too...I'm a crazy.
I know I want The Lemonade Stand to be quirky and witty, but I also want the book to mean something to someone. So, kind of like a cross between Wendy Mass and Trenton Lee Stewart and...yeah.
Solution: Google Friend Connect. Yay, problem solved, I'm still the next Caesar.