Thursday, August 16, 2012

Paper Towns

You’ll be seeing a lot more young adult books reviewed here, at least over the next few months. I have finally finished writing a draft of my young adult novel!!! Woot woot! I’ve already done quite a bit of editing and rewriting, but it’s to the point that I think I just need to set it aside for a few weeks and do one (hopefully) final edit before starting the submission process. That means it’s time to start researching literary agents and writing query letters. So far, I’ve read a few books that seemed like they would be similar to mine and therefore their agents might be a good match. It has also meant stalking Jodi Reamer (online only, not in a crazy fly to NYC and camp outside her office building kind of way). I have a .0000000000000000000000000000000000001 chance of getting her attention and having her even request to read the whole manuscript so I’m reading debut novels from a lot of her client list to get a feel for what made the cut. This had led to an interesting array of books on my library reserve list, which looks even more eccentric than usual and the librarians probably think there are eight different people using my account.

Now, on to my review! First up is John Green’s Paper Towns, aka the reason I’m stalking Ms. Reamer. I’m late to the John Green bandwagon, mostly because I got the feeling from reading some reviews that my style would be similar to his and I didn’t want that influencing my first draft (which I’ve been working on forever because I work full time at a job that requires a lot of writing and sometimes sitting at the computer is the last thing I’ve wanted to do the rest of the time. Fortunately that seems to have passed and now I can’t stop writing.). We do have a similar writing style, although I do not claim to be as awesome as he is. I LOVED this book!

Paper Towns has it all – interesting characters, a fast-paced plot, and great writing. I developed a bit of a crush on Q, wanted to strangle Margo and wished I could hang out with the gang (especially Radar!) on their road trip. I spent quite a lot of time after reading this daydreaming about road trips, actually, although since they had some rather unpleasant experiences along the way I’m not entirely sure why it made me do that. I suppose that’s a testament to Green’s writing as he still made the whole thing just so darn fun.

The novel also made me think about what it means to be real. We spend so much time hiding who we are and trying to present a certain image to others that’s not necessarily who we really are. And even when we don’t consciously try to do this, people still see us a certain way that’s not going to be the whole picture. It’s a good reminder not to judge others on superficial traits.

I think people who don’t normally read YA novels would still really enjoy this book, so I encourage you to give it a try. I’ve already got The Fault in Our Stars reserved and can’t wait to read his whole backlist.

Since I’m on a YA kick, what are your favorite contemporary YA novels?

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