I have got back both my writing and reading groove. Big time. This week I read two YA books: Divergent by Veronica Roth and What She Left Behind by Tracy Bilen. Both were wonderful, well written, with great characters and plots that kept me completely hooked to the pages of the books.
Both the books taught me several things:
1. Both start with the problem. There is no long-winded first chapter getting to know the MC. We are plunged into the conflict right in the beginning. In Divergent it’s the Choosing Ceremony for the MC Beatrice ( Tris). In What She Left Behind, Sara (the main character) and her mother, plan to leave their house due to Sara’s abusive father.
2. Both the books, especially What She Left Behind have small snippets of back story told in a unique way. Sara sees something, it triggers another memory and she is transported back to her childhood. There is just a paragraph or two. That’s all. The backstory is told in such a way that at no point did I feel that it was an info dump.
3. Both the books have loads of surprises. It’s like the two authors decided the surprises and sprinkled them throughout the book. I took three days to finish the two books. You can just imagine how much writing I must have done in those three days.
4. The supporting characters in both the books come across as warm and likeable people. Though there are a certain number of people in the two books who are detestable, it’s a deliberate effort on the part of the authors. I liked Christina and Uriah a lot other than Tris and Four (the two MC’s of Divergent). In What She Left Behind, I liked Alex and Matt, both support Sara like two loyal friends.
5. Sara's voice grabbed me from the first page. I just fell in love with it. Even Tris was super, I loved her voice too.
My personal take was that both these writers are effortless story tellers ( I am sure they must have struggled like the rest of us in the course of telling these stories) who know how to hook their readers. Have you read both or either of these books? If yes, what did you feel about them? Which book has made you drool over the writing, story, character and world building in the recent past?