Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Sock Knockers: TRUTH

After a long blank spell (writing my thesis), I've been reading a lot lately. Mostly YA: catching up on some classics I'd missed, and diving into new ones.

I don't know if it's the books I'm choosing or the general kick-assness of the YA market right now, but I've enjoyed almost all of the ones I've tried. These are good books: entertaining, fun, engrossing. But you know how you read a book and you think it's really good, and then you read another book and you are just blown AWAY?

I'm going to start a new series of blog posts on those books, taking a look at why they are above and beyond for me. It's called WHY THIS BOOK KNOCKED MY SOCKS OFF. "Sock-knockers", for short. (Because WTBKMSO is not a good tag.)

So today, I'm going to look at two books that blew me away for the same reason.

and CRACKED UP TO BE by Courtney Summers.

Now both of these books are great reads for plot, for beautiful language, for interesting situations. But that's not what put either of them over the top for me.

Both of them are A++ in TRUTH. By that I mean emotional truth, the kind of resonance that makes you read and cringe because you've done or thought that very thing even when it's not a particularly flattering thought or deed. That makes you smile because you have done or thought that very thing, joking around with your friends. It is a realistic portrayal of a life, good and bad.

Neither of these authors was afraid to face darkness in their characters, in the realities they show. And because they face the darkness unflinchingly (and the light moments too), we recognize it. It's no longer superficial entertainment--it is CONNECTION.

I don't think you have to be a "serious" book to attain emotional truth, though maybe it stands out more clearly there. You can attain emotional resonance in any kind of book in the small things your characters do, in their dialogue, in their deepest thoughts. Just don't be afraid to GO THERE. Don't step back and be safe. Take a step--or two, or three--further than you thought you could.

I aim for that. I think we all should.


Tiffany Schmidt said...

I've had Looking for Alaska for awhile now, but you catapulted it to the top of my reading list. I started it this afternoon and finished it tonight.

Of course I'd already read Cracked Up to Be. (hasn't everyone? If not, they SHOULD).

I 100% agree with both of your sock knockers. It's scary to be as honest as Green and Summers are in their writing. I truly admire them for it.

Lisa said...

Your blog is great! I would love to read these two books! And your idea for your "socks" theme is brilliant.

Susan Adrian said...

Tiffany: So glad you read LFA--AND loved it. Yes. Don't those two books just scream to be paired for honesty?

Lisa: Thanks!! Do go try the books, and let me know what you think!

courtney said...

I just have so many sparkles for you bb. I am honoured to be a part of this post. It made my day yesterday. You kick ass.


Susan Adrian said...

Courtney: No, YOU. :)

glovin said...

Your blog is great! I would love to read these two books I am honored to be a part of this post.

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