The Edge of Falling, by Rebecca Serle. One of the things I love most about Rebecca’s novels is how detailed they are. People sometimes talk about “world-building” as though it’s only pertinent to fantasy or sci-fi novels. Not so. It’s those details that the author puts in—about inside jokes the protagonist and her friend have had since childhood, about what her mother’s shoes always sound like on carpeting, about Thanksgiving traditions—that make it seem like this world is real, and has always existed, and will continue to exist long after we, the readers, have turned the last page. There are few authors who manage to convince me of their worlds’ real existence as well as Rebecca Serle does. I would love to be able to write with that level of detail and naturalness.
Blackout and All Clear, by Connie Willis. Is it cheating to choose two books? They are really two halves of a whole, so I think it’s fair game to count them as one—right? Anyway, I love Connie Willis. She is my favorite living novelist. I never know where she is going with her plotlines. I read her books and sort of understand what is going on, have no idea what anything signifies, and am completely hooked the whole time. Some authors are very talented and dedicated, but Connie Willis is a genius. She seemed to disappear for close to a decade after publishing Passage, and I kept being like, “What on earth is Connie Willis up to these days? Why doesn’t she just write another book, huh?” Then I read Blackout, and I was like, “Oh.” It is the sort of novel you could spend a decade of your life writing and that would be one hundred percent justified.
Code Name Verity, by Elizabeth Wein. This is another one where I had no clue how the author did what she was doing, and I loved every minute of it. Like Blackout and All Clear, Code Name Verity is set in England during World War II, so maybe there’s something about that setting that I particularly like? I don’t know, mostly what I loved about this novel was not its history, but the complexity of its plot. I wish I could write plot the way Elizabeth Wein does in this book. I love the way it all fit together, the way it bucked so many assumptions and tropes of the YA world—and the friendship between the two main characters, of course. One thing that comes across in all of the stories I write is how much I value female friendships. They have been some of the most defining relationships of my life, as I think they are for many, many women, so I love seeing them explored in literature. I cried at the girls’ friendship in Code Name Verity. I won’t tell you at what point in the book because I don’t want to spoil it for you, but if you’ve read it, you’ll know.
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About The Book
Told in a refreshingly genuine and laugh-out-loud funny voice, THIS SONG WILL SAVE YOUR LIFE is an exuberant novel about identity, friendship, and the power of music to bring people together.
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