Thursday, November 14, 2013

2 Wish I'd Written by Leila Sales (Author of THIS SONG WILL SAVE YOUR LIFE)

The sorts of books that I wish I’d written are the ones where I have no idea how the author did what he or she did. When I come to plot reveals and am totally shocked, when I meet characters and can’t imagine what it would be like to view the world as they do—that’s what makes me fall for a novel. Here are three books I’ve read recently that I have made me feel that way:

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.

About The Author

Leila Sales grew up outside of Boston, Massachusetts. She graduated from the University of Chicago in 2006. Now she lives in Brooklyn, New York, and works in the mostly glamorous world of children's book publishing. Leila spends most of her time thinking about sleeping, kittens, dance parties, and stories that she wants to write. She is the author of MOSTLY GOOD GIRLS, PAST PERFECT, and THIS SONG WILL SAVE YOUR LIFE.

Website | Twitter | Goodreads

About The Book

Making friends has never been Elise Dembowski’s strong suit. All throughout her life, she’s been the butt of every joke and the outsider in every conversation. When a final attempt at popularity fails, Elise nearly gives up. Then she stumbles upon a warehouse party where she meets Vicky, a girl in a band who accepts her; Char, a cute, yet mysterious disc jockey; Pippa, a carefree spirit from England; and most importantly, a love for DJing.

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.

Amazon | IndieBound | Goodreads


  1. I am not familiar with the first two authors mentioned, but I LOVED Elizabeth Wein's Rose Under Fire, a companion book to Code Name Verity, which I have yet to read. You are right; Wein does things in ways no other contemporary authors are writing. Thanks for an interesting read. Your book looks pretty good as well. I will have to check it out.

  2. I haven't heard of these authors/books, but I enjoyed reading your explanations of why you loved their writing. Great promotion, because it makes me want to read them!


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