Kristin is the author of YA novel, THE ART OF HOLDING ON AND LETTING GO (Elephant Rock Productions, September 2016). The book was a Junior Library Guild Fall 2016 Selection and chosen for the 2017-2018 Great Lakes Great Books statewide literature program. Kristin’s success led to lots of speaking engagements and a flurry of activity as the book gained popularity. But what’s a newly-minted author to do when the process of promoting a book zaps your energy and leaves you feeling unable to write anything new? Kristin answers this important questions and more in this fabulous post that provides an honest perspective. Hope you enjoy it!
I’m so excited to introduce my readers to a new feature on Sensibility and Sense! I’m calling it Teen Talk Tuesday, and it’s all about tweens and teens telling writers, editors and agents whey they really think of the books being written with them in mind! So if you’re a person in the publishing industry and wonder what’s working and if you are hitting the mark for your audience, stop in and check out Teen Talk Tuesday! I think you’ll be glad you did!
Our first book is The Fault in Our Stars, by John Green (Speak Paperback Reprint Edition, April 2014)
And here’s a little big about our first reviewer:
Year in School: Senior
Hobbies and Interests: Playing the violin and piano, drawing and painting, reading and writing.
Take it away Julia!
What About The Fault in Our Stars?
The Fault in Our Stars is a fantastic story of young love, trials, and cancer. The book features two dynamic characters, Hazel and Gus, who both struggle with the effects of their disease, or as they put it, “the side effects of dying”. To be honest, I’m not one to fall for the average Young Adult romance, full of sappy words and one-dimensional characters, but something about this book appealed to me. The novel is fast paced and each character has their own set of anxieties, causing a sense of urgency because the audience knows one of the characters could die at any time. John Green is able to convey this urgency through quick, easy-to-read sentences and a lot of philosophical passages discussing death and dying. The problems these teens face are realistic, not some made up magic sorcerer or vampire, which makes for a refreshing, heart-wrenching read.
However, when I finished reading the novel, I wasn’t exactly sure how I felt about it. I know I loved the characters and the story was riveting, but something kept me from saying “I love it!!” One thing about this novel which really put me off was the language of the characters. Some of the words they used, especially curse words, seemed out of place. I could obviously tell it was an adult trying to sound like a teenager. I don’t know what it is about young adult novels, but a lot of them seem to be written by ‘actual adults’ causing them to sound stuffy and very unrealistic to actual ‘young’ adults. This book is no exception. The main character Hazel has been homeschooled for years and has had limited contact with kids her age; the only real conversations she has had is with her parents. So, it is very unrealistic that she would use words like ‘piss’ or ‘douche’ in her line of thinking. Another issue is the character Gus. He uses an extreme amount of metaphorical and philosophical language, making his character very unbelievable. I think one of my friends said it best, “It was so strange because nobody talks like that!”
Overall, it was a very enjoyable read and I must admit, I did cry a little at the end of the book. I’d encourage anyone to read it because the story is fantastic and I really liked it, but I won’t go as far as to say I loved it.
Sensibility: Remembering what it’s like to be a teen reader can help you find the right voice for YA and Middle Grade Novels.
Sense:Take time to listen to what teens are saying and how they say it to make sure your voice is authentic for today’s teen reader.