I’m more than a little bummed out today because I am home in Pittsburgh, and not chilling (literally) in Seattle at the ALA Midwinter Meeting. But still, today’s a great day for two reasons:
1) I am exactly one month out from the beginning of my Latasha and the Kidd on Keys school tour! See you soon, Wisconsin!
2) I get to tell you about a fantastic young adult novel I reread this past week. It’s a thrilling first novel that came out in 2011 and won several quite prestigious honors at last year’s ALA Midwinter, such as the Printz Award and the William C. Morris Debut Award. And what, do you ask, is this book called?
It’s a real thrill to read such a self-assured debut. These are characters that will stick with me, powerfully voiced and sharply drawn. The parallel story being told along with the main character’s threw me off a bit on my first read; I really had to just trust that it the relationship between the two parts would come into focus. Fortunately, Whaley did not disappoint. The way it all came together impressed me the first time around, and perhaps even more so upon re-reading, knowing where things are headed and seeing how the book is built. Where Things Come Back is an incredibly satisfying read. (Plus, it references plenty of great tunes, including my favorite TV on the Radio song.)
I picked this up for two reasons: 1) because I knew revisiting this book would also mean revisiting the terrific time I had at ALA Midwinter last year, which feels like it happened a decade and not a year ago, and 2) because the novel I’m currently working on also deals with a brother who’s been abruptly removed from the picture.
Stories like this one make me want to sit down immediately and write some new pages — not just want to, but need to — because I must work on my craft to keep up. That’s the highest compliment I can give a book. So, with that I’ll end this post and fire up my manuscript. There’s work to be done.