Wednesday, March 16, 2011

in which i gush over plain kate, etc.

I stayed in bed until 12:30 today, reading a book.  And not just any book.  It's my new of-many-favorites book: Plain Kate, by Erin Bow.  I cannot begin to describe all the reasons I loved it.  Here's a list, to get my brain going:

1.  It was beautifully written, and I mean that in the most genuine sense.  Meager broken lines away from being considered verse (in my book).
2.  There is a talking cat.
3.  You both love and fear the villain (Can you even call him that?  Genius).
4.  It's a story about friendship and family, a breath of fresh air after so much boysboysboyskissingkissing.
5.  There are boats, and I love boats.
6.  I cried at the end, but I'm not depressed.
7.  The heart and message are intriguing and incredible.
8.  The magic is terrifying.
9.  The story is concise.  No wandering around without purpose, thinking.  Every scene fills a role.
10.  I am, for the first time in a while, not left to wish the author had done something different.

That's a pretty concise view of my opinion, actually.  Oh, but this is so hard, because I want so badly to tell you everything, but then you won't read it, and I really think it would be better for you if you just read it.  I have to be honest, I haven't felt this way about a book in a long time.  I've read a lot of great books in the past year, but this is one of maybe a fistful that call out to me in a different way.  I loved The Hunger Games, of course.  Brilliant.  But something unique happens when I read a story I not only wish I could have written, but also encapsulates the kind of writing I think I actually could do.  That was a muddle of a sentence.  What I mean is, as much as I loved THG, and as much as I would love to write something that awesome one day, it just doesn't feel like me.  Plain Kate feels like me, like what I think my voice could be.  And it's so cool and inspiring to read, and it fills me with confidence.  Or, if nothing else, encouragement.  I want to write this kind of book.

The last time I felt this way, for anyone who's interested, was after I read Lips Touch: Three Times, by Laini Taylor.  My semi-embarrassing review (which she actually read, and then thanked me for, if you can believe that-- I know, I about peed my pants) can be found right here.  And, hey, now that I think about it, guess how I found out about Plain Kate?  Laini Taylor.  Talk about full circle.

And, no, of course I'm not jumping up and down like a hyper kitty over the upcoming release of Laini's next book, Daughter of Smoke and Bone.  Of course not.  Silly you for even thinking that.

So, yes.  It's been a good day.


  1. This book caught my eye a couple of months ago. Thanks to your review, I'm probably going to read it. Sounds great! I think "the magic is terrifying" phrase really caught my eye. Magic is handled so differently by authors--and it's seldom scary, or even dramatic. If anything, it often feels a bit too fluffy to me, like everyone's been watching Bedknobs and Broomsticks a little too long.

  2. Yeah, I'm definitely going to have to ferret this one out somewhere. I know what you mean about it feeling like you. I feel the same way when I read Gail Carson Levine books. It makes me feel calm in my writing.


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