Thursday, September 22, 2011

Blog Tour: MY BEATING TEENAGE HEART Author Book Picks

Today I have the pleasure of having C.K. Kelly Martin stopping by to share her book recommendations.

I’m constantly in the process of reading some novel or other, the two exceptions being 1) when I’m away on holiday and therefore want to remain firmly in the moment (then, even if I’m doing something simple like riding on a city bus I want to look out the window rather than have my head buried in another world) and 2) when I’m in the middle of editorial revisions for one of my own books and don’t want any distractions.

I rarely reread books because there are always countless new ones I want to experience. As I’m writing this (July fourth) I’m freshly back from Dublin where I bought 6 six new novels (mostly by British and Irish authors). I also have two YA books currently checked out from my local library and am on holds list for seven others, not to mention all the unread novels I have piled around my apartment from before I left for my vacation! If I’m forced to imagine a future in which I don’t have access to a steady supply of quality new fiction, it feels like a dystopian nightmare. Hideous! Reading is such a big part of who (and maybe you too, if you’re reading this) I am. It always has been. Even before I could sound out words myself and had to depend on my parents to read aloud from classic fairy tales and books like Winnie the Pooh, Babar and Madeline.

I still love the idea of an elephant king in a three piece suit. I love orphan Anne Shirley, who felt like a kindred spirit to my childhood self, even though we never met in real life. I will forever love Tintin adventures, the hilariously self-absorbed and clueless adolescent Adrian Mole and every childrens’ or teen book I ever read by Judy Blume. Books like these made me laugh, made me curious, made me crave adventure, made uncomfortable subjects seem a little more comprehendible (thank you, thank you, Judy Blume!).

Some of my other all-time favourite books include Emma Who Saved My Life (by Wilton Barnhardt), The Chrysalids (by John Wyndham), a tiny picture book by William Benton called Deaf Elephants and Crow Lake (by Mary Lawson). None of the above are YA novels but I think they all have strong crossover appeal. Emma Who Saved My Life is about a twenty year old guy named Gil who moves to New York in the seventies to become an actor. The two constants in his life, for years, are his feelings for Emma (his first roommate in New York) and the vibrancy (both good and bad) of the city itself. On a more general level I think it’s about that time in your life when everything feels like a possibility and you want it all so badly! You’re consumed with drama and longing. The William Benton book is about love and joy and being different (like deaf elephants). It made me cry in the store the first time I read it. I first fell in love with John Wyndham’s sci-fi novel The Chrysalids (set in a fundamentalist community long after a nuclear apocalypse) long when I was fourteen or fifteen. I read it again three years ago or so and was floored by it all over again. It’s my dream to write a novel this good. Finally, Crow Lake centers on a character name Kate, now 26, whose life was forever changed when her parents died suddenly orphaning her seven-year-old self, her younger sister and two older brothers who struggled to keep the family together in the aftermath. The depth with which Mary Lawson understands people made me ache. It’s a staggeringly beautiful, heart-wrenching story.

I also want to mention some recent favourites books about young people – Room (by Emma Donoghue), Recovery Road (by Blake Nelson), and Jumpstart the World (by Catherine Ryan Hyde). Room features a charismatic five year old narrator caught in a horrifying situation. Recovery Road was recommended to me by Courtney Summers and awed me with its truthful portrayal of two teens in therapy for drug addictions forging a relationship that may or may not last but never feels like a cautionary tale or self-consciously edgy. This book had one of the best last pages that I’d read in awhile. As for Jumpstart the World, I don’t think there’s a YA writer out there who does a better job of writing three-dimensional, troubled characters struggling to be better people than Catherine Ryan Hyde and her most recent book is no exception. Sixteen-year-old Ellie, living alone in an apartment because of family conflict, develops feeling for her next door neighbour, Frank, a transgender man.

I hope you’ll check out some of the books I mention and also post comments sharing your personal all-time or recent favourites.

Books can be dangerous. The best ones should be labeled "This could change your life."
~Helen Exley

Where to stalk C K Kelly Martin

My Beating Teenage HeartAshlyn Baptiste is falling. One moment she was nothing—no memories, no self—and then suddenly, she's plummeting through a sea of stars. Is she in a coma? She doesn't remember dying, and she has no memories of the life she left behind. All she knows is that she's trapped in a consciousness without a body and she's spending every moment watching a stranger.

Breckon Cody's on the edge. He's being ripped apart by grief so intense it literally hurts to breath. On the surface, Breckon is trying to hold it together for his family and his girlfriend, but underneath he's barely hanging on.
Even though she didn't know him in life, Ashlyn sees Breckon's pain, and she's determined to find a way help him. As her own distressing memories emerge from the darkness, she struggles to communicate with the boy who can't see her, but whose life is suddenly intertwined with hers. In alternating voices of the main characters, My Beating Teenage Heart paints a devastatingly vivid picture of both the heartbreak and the promise of teenage life—a life Ashlyn would do anything to recover and Breckon seems desperate to destroy—and will appeal to fans of Sarah Dessen, John Green, and David Levithan.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Reading your comments makes my day better...go ahead leave one. I'll comment back!

This blog is an award free zone. I love and appreciate the awards, but I'm unable to pass them on and share the love like I'd like to.