Friday, November 2, 2012

Surprise, surprise

I sat on the couch last evening with a huge bowl of popcorn and a new download on my Kindle.

And woke up this morning with puffy eyes and a blotchy face.

Let's get this straight:  I'm not a reality fiction reader.  I know that there's this backlash against paranormal in the YA world right now and everyone is pushing writers and readers to "get real", but I like paranormal and I'm not giving it up.  I stay away from reality fiction because: 1. I live reality.  I don't need to read it, too.  2. I really, really wish I had magical powers  3. Paranormal is fun!   4. Most reality fiction novels are SAD.  I don't seek out something that brings me to tears and  5. Did I mention I wish I had magical powers?

Okay, okay.  Some of my favorite books are reality based (like Looking for Alaska or Story of a Girl) and left me feeling gutted at the end, both by the excellent writing and the intensity of the narrative.  But, despite how good these books are or can be, I usually steer clear.

So I wasn't expecting my new book to make me cry.  I started reading A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness and about ten pages in I considered putting it down.  Yes, it was paranormal, but it was for a younger audience than I'm used to.  Plus, I had a sneaking suspicion that reality was going to take a bigger role in the novel than I cared for. But I kept on and a few pages later, the story, the writing, even the illustrations, hooked me.  The book had the edge of reality along with the punch of paranormal.  Like mixing buttered popcorn with peanut M & M's -- seems odd, but the end result is awesome.  By midnight I was closing my Kindle and bawling into my Kleenex. Sobbing but satisfied with the ending.

And when I woke up this morning, I thought, YES.  There are still books out there that take me by surprise.  Books I wouldn't have picked up on my own (thank you, Goodreads), yet that touch me deeper than I would have imagined.  Books that force me to think further on what I want to read, and more importantly, what I want to write.

No.  I'm not taking the leap to pure reality fiction.  But that doesn't mean I can't learn a thing or two from it. 

And maybe surprise myself.

How about you?  What books out there surprised you?


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