Here’s my part two of 2009 Favorite Books series. You can look at my other favorite choices in the first part.
These are the books for kids and teens that resonated with me. I’ll also share from a writer’s perspective what I learned from the books as well.
Here’s the second batch of books:
Living Dead Girl by Elizabeth Scott
Although the subject matter of this book is highly disturbing, Scott gives us a heart-wrenching and haunting portrayal of “Alice,” a girl who’s been abducted and renamed. Now at 15, she knows her time is up when her kidnapper wants her to find a new, younger girl to taker her place. The prose in this book is concise but its impact is almost to the point of devastating. Writers can learn to structure sentences—how the right turn of phrase or word can slam through to the reader its meaning.
Ruined by Paula Norris
I’m a fan of history and the ghost story. This book has the best of both worlds. Rebecca feels like a fish out of water moving from NYC to New Orleans. Cliques that revolve around hundred-year old roots are hard to penetrate, but Rebecca finds a friend in the mysterious Lisette. Who just happens also to be a ghost. As a writer, you can learn a lot about plotting mysteries and twists. I also loved how Norris intertwined history within the story.
Savvy by Ingrid Law
This was the only middle-grade novel that made my list this year. Middle-grade is my first love and this book reminded me of how much I adore books for this age group. Mibs comes from a family with magical powers—which reveals itself on the 13th birthday. And this is where the adventure begins. Love the quirky and humorous voice, the family dynamics and also how Law integrates the secondary characters into the novel. Writers can learn how to take a concept (the magical savvy) and turn it into a deeper story.
Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater
I dropped a note to this author to let her know how much I enjoyed the first book of this trilogy. Werewolves have been done before—especially in a certain other book series—but I must admit this tale is layered and the relationship between Grace and Sam is more dynamic. Grace was saved by wolves as a child and is transfixed on a specific wolf that appears in her backyard. That yellow-eyed wolf is Sam, who turns human in the summer but returns to animal form in the winter. The stability of their relationship is tested by the temperature and as the season changes so do the stakes. Writers can learn from Stiefvater’s fluid language and how she integrates plot with characterization.
The Everafter by Amy Huntley
This was a book that captured me during one of my bookstore browses. The premise of what happens in the afterlife has been done before—but this is a unique take on it. Madison knows that she’s dead but she’s in a dark void and her only company are objects that she lost in life. Touching these objects lead her back to those moments where she can observe—and even change the events. But why is she in this void? And why can’t she remember how she died? As a writer, you can learn a lot about how to break down a moment—and what makes it work.