In my continuing series about Middle Grade and Young Adult fiction, here is my report on this week's books and what I learned from them as it relates to my own novel writing adventure.
This week's books:
The Matched trilogy, by Ally Condie (Matched, Crossed, and Reached)
Overall impression: This series touched me in a way few books have. I loved it. I recommend the series unreservedly. It started out strong, but then got better as it went along. By the third book I was mesmerized. Deeply touched and impressed. I wanted to talk about it with anyone I could find. It took me a few hours to shake off the spell and rejoin my regular life.
What I liked: At it's heart it is a love story, with complexity and depth that I don't often see in young adult fiction. But it was the author's use of famous works of literature and art as the backbone of the story's larger themes that impressed and inspired me so much. I also loved how there were so many little sub-plots, hints and surprises that all came together in the end. And I loved her characters, the main three of course (Cassie, Ky, and Xander), but perhaps most of all I loved Indie. Indie is a wild young girl full of life and longing and determination who lives her life on her own terms. My heart breaks for Indie. I want to be like her.
What I learned: When I finished the third book I was in tears, because the themes resonated with me so deeply, but also because I despaired that I could ever write a book with as many layers and well executed themes. I aspire to, but truly don't believe it is within my capability to pull off a story as well done as these were. Thank god for my husband, who heard me say something along those lines, and said to me, "well, get going on your million words..." He's right. I certainly can't do it now. But after I've written a million words? Well, you never know. (A million words is the number some say you need to have written before you even start to have a chance of being a good writer.) It was a good reminder that while reading books is an important part of becoming a good writer, so is writing. And I really need to start doing more of that.
Here is a link to the Storysnoops review of Matched.
Find Matched on Amazon.