Thursday, November 18, 2010

Recent YA and MG I've read

I have decided to read seriously more YA and MG, both because I think it's good as a writer to see what's out there and see fresh ideas and approaches and because if I end up teaching Reading again, I want to be able to have lots of books to recommend to my middle school students. I'm also forcing myself out of my traditional fantasy/paranormal/romance preferences.


I got a variety of "Best of" lists and have been working my way through them. THe ones that stand out the most:

The Six Rules of Maybe, by Deb Caletti, YA This book had such great sentences that I wanted to stop now and then and just type one up as my Facebook status in honor of it. I also appreciated that the protagonist is a codependent teen who begins to learn that she is not the one who should be in charge of everyone else's lives. As a codependent in recovery, I, of course, totally identified with the main character.

What I Saw and How I Lied
, by Judy Blundell YA Set right after the end of WWII, this is a mystery and a romance, but mostly a mystery. However, the language is also very beautiful, the kind of writing that makes you stop and go, "Wow!" Nice theme, very much a page-turner. I, in fact, let my kids watch more TV than usual just so I finish the book.

The FarWalker's Quest, by Joni Sensel-- This is MG, not YA, with zero romance (a very clear-cut MG novel), with a very interesting world. I like that the protagnoist is a strong girl and there are questions about who can be trusted and why. It's the author's first fantasy novel and though I felt it started off too slow, it picked up the pace and was definitely worth the read.

So many books, so little time, but I'm slowly working through a list of recommended reads by both teens, the publishing industry and The Book Whisperer.

Not all of the books I've read have been great, but I'd rather focus on the good ones than list ones I didn't enjoy. Others might enjoy them more than I did.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

A brilliant idea by someone else

Okay, this is why it is good to read agent and editor blogs. I was reading The Rejectionist, which is really just a funny little vent about how she overuses certain words when she writes and how frustrating it is. I don't often read all the comments, but I was scrolling down through them and found someone who said, "OOh, for those words you overuse and you know you overuse them, Gary Corby posted on how to use autocorrect to self-correct those words in his blog!" And so I clicked and read and went, "HOW COOL!" Whether or not I'll do what he suggests, I don't know, but I think it's hilariously brilliant to have Word autocorrect an overused word to "NO! NO! NO!" Check it out "Autocorrect is your Friend," thanks to a smart commenter on the very smart Rejectionist's blog.

ETA: Another super-awesome cool post by the same dude, who is clearly way more tech savvy than I am. I have tried searching for "was ___ing" (was walking, was talking, etc) so I could make them all stronger, but couldn't figure out how. Gary Corby has the secret in his post, "Advanced Searching in Microsoft Word"! Go! Read! Then write! And then Advanced Search! And Edit!! Whoohoo!