Monday, March 29, 2010

Endings, Shmendings ...

Sorry for disappearing for a million years. I've been working and reading and working and working and reading some more. The working part is boring. Let's talk about the reading instead.

I just finished Before I Fall, a new YA novel by Lauren Oliver.

First thing's first: this book is huge. Like, size-of-my-head, beat-yo-mama huge. Second thing's second: I devoured every single page of it, racing through the story like my life depended on it.

This book had things I loved (vivid descriptions, metaphors that made you stop and think, a fun love interest, a great premise, voice), things I didn't love (repetition I'm not certain was intentional, somewhat cliched mean girls, issues that felt important but weren't fully addressed), and then one other thing.

The ending.

Some people will love it, some will hate it, and others will love to hate it. As for me? I wanted to love it, or to love to hate it, or even just to like it.

But I didn't. Not even kind of. In fact, it pissed me off so much--gave me this "Wait ... What the marshmallows?!?!?" moment--that I wanted to throw it against a wall. (I didn't, of course. It's a big book; could cause serious damage to the plaster.) I wanted to scream, "No! This is wrong, wrong, wrong! One more day, please!" I waited a few days before posting this, b/c I thought maybe the last 2-3 pages would grow on me. They still haven't. I can't explain it any more thoroughly without giving something away, so I'll just say Lauren's choice (or Samantha's choices, technically) didn't sit right with me.

All that said, Lauren Oliver has taken an intriguing premise and created a movie-worthy story with it. She has demonstrated that interesting characters aren't perfect, that even narrators don't have to be likable so long as the author is skilled enough to pull them off (which Lauren totally is). And I would ABSOLUTELY recommend you pick this book up. Despite its flaws, Before I Fall stands out in an increasingly popular genre.

This very well-written book reinforced what I already suspected: endings are tough stuff. No matter what you do, not everyone's gonna love it.

So let me know: have any of you read Before I Fall? (If you haven't, you should. Now.) What did you think of it? And what about that ending?

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Query + First 10 Pages--last chance to enter!

Okay, so this is ridiculously last minute of me, but if you haven't entered Weronika's contest, hurry up and do so! You've still got about (okay, a little less than) an hour. Here are the rules, pulled from Weronika's site:

The contest will be open over two intervals: TUESDAY, MARCH 2ND, FROM 7AM EST - 9AM EST and 6PM EST - 8PM EST. Emails outside of these intervals will be deleted unread.
Email all queries and pages EMBEDDED IN THE EMAIL to weronika (dot) janczuk (at) gmail (dot) com.
Put the word QUERY in the subject line.
Do not submit from an email address that requires any confirmation, etc.
You're welcome to submit with an unfinished manuscript. If I offer to forward your query, I'll just have to wait until the book is done!
All critiques will be sent by Sunday, March 7th, 9pm EST.

AWESOME, right? So get your butts over there now!