Monday, October 29, 2012

Divergent, by Veronica Roth (A Book Review)

Hunger Games fans rejoice! The Divergent series is the new dystopian hotness. The story takes place in a much altered Chicago with society broken into factions, each one representative of a particular virtue: Abnegation (these are the selfless people who put all others before them, in charge of the government), Candor (the honest ones who speak the truth at all costs), Dauntless (the brave ones who train to protect and kill, the military of this society), Amity (those devoting their lives to peace and farming), and Erudite (the intelligent, the geeks of the society, in charge of research). Once a year, all 16 year olds must choose their faction, the one they will stay with the rest of their lives. Do they choose the faction they’ve been raised in or jump ships to another, leaving behind their family forever?

Beatrice Prior makes her decision, one that surprises even her. Sealing her own fate, she then embarks on a quest to discover who she really is within the faction she chooses. The process is not an easy one with death as a possible consequence of failure to adapt. There is also the burden of knowing she could be cast out at any time, forever Factionless, poor and hungry. But Beatrice has a secret that she must guard well. One which others would kill her for. 

Divergent is a series filled with action, choices and consequences, betrayal and (thankfully) a bit of romance.

My overall impression is this was a very good book, definitely worthy of my hardback purchase. It had a few of my very favorite things: a girl with a secret, a girl who can take care of herself most of the time, and a boy who needs a good slap as much as he needs a good kiss. Ms. Roth has a writing style that is enjoyable and easy to read with well developed characters (even the ones you are rooting will meet a slow and painful death).
A teen that I know (who loooooooved this book, btw), excitedly grabbed my brand new copy, flipped open to chapter one and read aloud to me, “‘There is one mirror in my house.’ I’m telling you, I was hooked from the first sentence!” A teen, hooked from the very first sentence of a YA novel??  Kudos, Ms. Roth.  Kudos.

So…this one’s gonna be a movie, guys.  Check it out:

Read the book first, people!!
Parental note:  PG-13 violence and only one cuss word that I noticed.

Now, please excuse me whilst I go pick up my copy of Insurgent. In hardback, of course.
          --Suzi Ryan

Thursday, October 18, 2012

The Next Big Thing

I was asked by my super amazing talented friend, Colleen Rowan Kosinski, to participate in this blog tag event detailing what we are all currently working on. Please to enjoy!

What is the working title of your book?

One of Those Moments

Where did the idea come from for the book?

It’s a combination of two things. The first is a dream I had when I was 19. In the dream, a boy’s mom is killed when a tree falls on her car. In the father’s despair, he cuts down every single tree on his sprawling property, to the dismay of his son, who likes to sit in the shade of the trees, his acoustic guitar in lap, composing music.

Secondly, in grade school, I fell mad crazy in love with O. Henry’s Gift of the Magi. If you haven’t read it, get your butt to the library. Like NOW. I get choked up every single time I read it. And no, watching the Mickey Mouse rendition does NOT count!  Anyway, I’ve always wanted to do a modern, teen version of the story.

So…I took my dream in one hand and Gift of the Magi in the other and smooshed them together like a big ‘ol fluffer-nutter.

What genre does your book fall under?

Contemporary/Literary young adult fiction

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

Cassie looks a lot like Alexis Bledel (Gilmore Girls/Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants). Grey looks a bit like a blonde, blue-eyed version of James Maslow (Big Time Rush). For Laken, I found this one pic of Amber Tamblyn (again, Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants) that looks pretty close. As far as Chase, in my head he looks like a young Barry Watson (7th Heaven/Samantha Who?)  If I had to pick someone who could play him now, I guess I’d pick Chace Crawford. WITH bangs.

Alexis Bledel - James Maslow - Amber Tamblyn - Chace Crawford

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

Upon the death of her father, Cassie abandons her dreams of pursuing the study of music until she meets Grey, a guitar player who has recently lost his mother.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

One fabulous summer.
What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

Nicholas Sparks’ The Last Song.

Who or What inspired you to write this book?

I’ve wanted to be nothing but be a published writer since the age of 12. Yet fear, insecurity, and self-doubt paralyzed me so thoroughly that I abandoned my dream, much like my main character, Cassie. But after many years, reality finally slapped me in the face—the reality that I never went after the one thing I wanted most. So…I finally went to my first writing conference with my friend and co-blogger, Suzy Ismail. I took pages from the story I was working on, one I was madly in love with. I had my very first critique. My critiquer ripped me to shreds, not having a single, kind thing to say. I left bawling my eyes out. Suzy dragged me to P.F. Chang’s to calm me down before my long drive home. In the parking lot, she gave me advice. Advice that I hated. Advice that I needed. She told me, “You need to write something else.”  Well, I went home and threw myself one giant pity party. I yelled, stomped my feet, ate ice cream and vowed to never write again. I cried. I prayed. And then I surrendered to my dear friend’s advice. And I’m so glad I did. 

What else about your book might pique your reader’s interest?

It’s romantic and deeply emotional. Just. Like. Me. 

Please check out my friend Colleen's blog too:

          --Suzi Ryan