No, that’s not some secret code. It stands for National Novel Writing Month. Every November, people all over the world sign up to attempt to write a novel in one month. I’ve never tried it. Don’t know that I would. But it’s a neat project and I know people who have tried it (although no one I know has yet published a novel from this exercise).
So, why do I bring this up? Because it’s an unspoken part of today’s featured book.
Afterworlds by Scott Westerfeld is actually two novels for the price of one. One story is about Darcy, an up and coming YA novelist who has moved to New York as she finishes edits on her about to be published debut novel…which she wrote during the month of November. (Although NaNoWriMo is never explicitly mentioned.)
The second story is Darcy’s novel about a girl named Lizzie who is trapped in a terrorist attack at an airport. In an attempt to “play dead” and escape the terrorists, Lizzie discovers that she can cross over into the world of the dead. She also discovers she can see ghosts, including the one that’s been hanging around her home.
The chapters alternate, so you get a little bit of Lizzie, then some Darcy, then back to Lizzie. This book is also a good argument for knowing classic literature, because then you can laugh at a girl named Darcy writing a book about a girl named Lizzie. (Here’s why it’s funny.*)
We have both the print book and the audiobook. Westerfeld is a fun writer, who can write all sorts of things…steampunk alternative history, dystopia, suspense/thriller. I almost always enjoy hanging out in one of his books.
*Yes, I linked to Wikipedia. This is one of those times when it’s a good resource.
We’ve been talking about how aware April is: poetry, occupational therapy, autism. But, if you remember back to the Snapple debacle, April is also School Library Month. I’m trying not to be too competitive with Mrs. Trusty this year.
In addition to being school library month, this week is also National Library Week. So, I went hunting for a good book with a good librarian in it. If any of you have aspirations to become famous authors, let me give you this piece of advice: write a good librarian in your story and you will become a librarian favorite.
This is one of my perennial favorites (that means I talk about this book at least once a year). So Yesterday by Scott Westerfeld is about so many things. It’s got social media, tends, tendsetters, missing people, missing shoes, and a potenial vast conspiracy. And best of all, when Hunter, the main character, needs to crash a black-tie affair, he needs some help trying to figure out how to tie a bow tie. So what does he do? Does he look it up on the internet? No. He calls the reference desk at the New York Public Library.
And for that reason, I will always recommend Scott Westerfeld books to you!
Winter break is coming up (just 4 more school days, but who’s counting, right?). So, it’s time to start putting together you list of books you’re going to read over the break. Today’s recommendations come from the historical fiction realm, since I know some of you are still looking for a book for Mrs. Selinsky’s next independent reading assignment.
First up is Scott Westerfeld’s Leviathan. This is a fabulous steampunk revision of World War I. The story starts out, as all WWI stories do, with the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand. In this version of history, Ferdinand has a son, and his bodyguards whisk him away for his own protection. Meanwhile, in England, Deryn Sharpe is disguising herself as a boy to join the British Air Service. The story shifts perspective between these two until, of course, they come together. Don’t forget to add the steampunk twist where the Axis powers are the “clankers” relying on machines, and the Allies are the naturalists with floating whales. It’s a fantastic story and the first in a trilogy. Also available on CD (although the audiobook doesn’t have the fantastic illustrations).
In Katherine Marsh’s Jepp, who Defied the Stars, Jepp is a dwarf who is taken from his mother’s home to be a court jester. After he is caught trying to escape with another court dwarf, Jepp is banished to a remote island to serve a scientist. While there, Jepp learns about science, falls in love, and earns a higher place among the scholars. But he still wants to know if he can control his fate or if he is destined by his stars. I loved this story!
More suggestions to come tomorrow, but you can also check out the library’s new tumblr for additional suggestions!