Contemporary Video Games & Estates

Guest Post 1: Keren David on Choosing a New Narrator for Another Life

So. Since INFINITE SKY is a contemporary, I will just talk about two of the Lucky 13s contemporary novels that I’m especially excited about, whilst also recommending you check out our website to get an idea of just how many great books we have between us. Learn more about me here. 

Emily Murdoch’s IF YOU FIND ME is the story of fifteen year old Carey, and how she and her little sister survive in the woods after their mentally ill mother abandons them. (Read more about it on Good Reads.) I love how atmospheric it sounds, and I love stories about sisters (I’ve always wanted one myself), and so I just think I’m going to adore this, it’s already getting some nice attention.

Rachele Alpine’s CANARY tells Kate Franklin’s story of how her life changes when her dad gets a job coaching a big shot basketball team. (Read more on Good Reads.) It sounds like it’s about loyalty and truth and corruption, and I’m really looking forward to reading it. People are already saying great things about this book too.

Other more established writers whose new books I’m looking forward to are Ed Hogan and Annabel Pitcher. Ed wrote the wonderful DAYLIGHT SAVING, which is a sort of contemporary ghost story, that I just loved. Funny, moving and sad, I really fell for his characters Daniel and Lexie, and found the way the novel resolved itself to be thrilling and poignant at the same time. I’m not sure what he is working on next, but I want to read whatever it is that he writes.

And Annabel’s hugely successful debut, MY SISTER LIVES ON THE MANTLEPIECE, was so gorgeous that I can’t wait to read KETCHUP CLOUDS, which people are saying is just as good, if not better, than her first, which is an exciting prospect indeed. Her writing is funny and moving and quirky, and there’s a lovely freshness to it as well.

The Evil That Men And Women Do Theme Week Post 5: Margie Gelbwasser

Welcome to the last post in my Evil in YA Contemporary Theme Week! Check out previous guest posts this week by Louisa Reid, Annabelle from Read Write And Read Some More, and Savita Kalhan,

For today, I’m really pleased to welcome Margie Gelbwasser to the blog. (Warning: slight spoilers for Margie’s novel Pieces of Us below.)

When I was first asked if I would want to write a post about evil in YA, the usual villainous culprits came to my mind. Voldemort (of course) topped the list, but there were obvious others: the Volturi from Twilight, the Wicked Witch of the East in The Wizard of Oz, the Big Bad Wolf in The Three Little Pigs, the evil stepmother in Cinderella, and the evil queen in Snow White. And, I can keep going. However, these are the known villains. For those of us who write contemp, villains are not always so visible. They are disguised not by masks or magic but by names: mother, father, sister, brother, friend, teacher. Maybe that makes them scarier because the characters do not know who to fear.

In my second novel, Pieces of Us, there are a slew of characters who could pass as villains. To start, are Katie’s (one of the MCs) boyfriend and his best friend. How they act and what they do has no reason. They simply behave like monsters for their own amusement and as a means of wielding power. At least Voldemort had a plan: to take over the world. Conquering Katie does not bring the teen boys closer to any big plan. They just do what they do because they can. Then, there is Katie and Julie’s mother. While reading numerous reviews, I saw one word pop up a lot to describe her: evil. When I wrote her, I did not think her a good person, but I did not think her evil. Perhaps, it was because I knew her inside and out and knew what she would do and I could view with safe detachment. Yet, reading her as others do, I can see how that adjective works. Unlike the teen boys mentioned above, she does not behave as she does (favoring one daughter over the other, placing all value on beauty, rejecting each daughter when her actions do not meet the mother’s needs) for amusement. It is just who she is. She has her priorities wrong. She places herself above her children, her husband, and everything else. In twisted ways, every action somehow reflects on her. But, unlike Snow White’s stepmother, she doesn’t need to be the fairest. She knows her time has passed so she will live vicariously through her daughters. Her behavior sickens me, especially since I am a mother myself. I sleep, eat, and breathe my kid. He comes first always. I almost rather Katie and Julie’s mom WAS evil like the queen because her behavior may be explained more (it was sorcery). Unfortunately, there are parents like this, and that is more terrifying than any character.