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Archive for June, 2010

If I Stay by Gayle Forman

Posted by Caitie F on June 18, 2010

Title: If I Stay

Author: Gayle Forman

Publisher: Dutton Juvenile

Hardcover: 208 pages

ISBN: 0525421033

Rating: +++++

Summary (from Publishers Weekly)

The last normal moment that Mia, a talented cellist, can remember is being in the car with her family. Then she is standing outside her body beside their mangled Buick and her parents’ corpses, watching herself and her little brother being tended by paramedics. As she ponders her state (“Am I dead? I actually have to ask myself this”), Mia is whisked away to a hospital, where, her body in a coma, she reflects on the past and tries to decide whether to fight to live. Via Mia’s thoughts and flashbacks, Forman expertly explores the teenager’s life, her passion for classical music and her strong relationships with her family, friends and boyfriend, Adam. Mia’s singular perspective also allows for powerful portraits of her friends and family as they cope.

Review:

I feel like I am the very last person to read this book. Everyone else read it and reviewed it. I tried not to read many other reviews, because I didn’t want to be influenced to heavily. I was afraid that the book could not live up to all of the hype and 5 star reviews I have seen. Luckily, I was wrong.

The best word to describe this book is beautiful. It describes the writing and the story. There is nothing negative I can say about this book, and that is not something that happens often. I would love to read this book with a book club to talk ot other people about the issues that come up in the book.

Could you imagine if we really can decide if we want to stay? Would you have stayed if you were Mia? I don’t know if I could have. She lost her whole family in an instant. If I lost everyone that quickly, I don’t know if I could stay, especially in her circumstances. But really, I couldn’t say if I would unless I was there unless I was her.

I loved how the story was written. A lot of it was through flashbacks, which can be disjointed and can stop the story many times, but in this story it felt natural and I cannot imagine it being done in a better way. It was a great way to get to know all of the characters and helped me understand Mia and her friends and family so much more.

It was just an amazing book, if you haven’t read it yet, move it to the top of your list and read it as soon as you can! If you have read it, what did you like most about it? Was there anything you didn’t like? Let me know in the comments!

Posted in Review | Tagged: , | 13 Comments »

Library Loot (2)

Posted by Caitie F on June 16, 2010

I finally got to the library, and then I requested a bunch of books too. Most of them are in, so I thought I would share what great stuff I got! You may notice that most of it lines up with books on my list for the TBR Challenge. I want to get this challenge finished and find another one to join! I have decided I want to read all 24 books on the list, since they are all books that I know I want to read! I already read Along for the Ride but still need to write my review of it.

Onto my loot!

If I Stay by Gayle Forman

The Queen’s Fool by Philippa Gregory

Inkspell by Cornelia Caroline Funke

Odd Thomas by Dean Koontz

Admission by Jean Hanff Korelitz
The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova

Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson

Firmin by Sam Savage

Eragon by Christopher Paolini

No Way to Treat a First Lady by Christopher Buckley

Boot Camp by Todd Strasser

Naked by David Sedaris

Honeymoon With My Brother by Franz Wisner

My Losing Season by Pat Conroy

To see how I am doing, head over to my Goodreads!

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: | 3 Comments »

Internship Musings

Posted by Caitie F on June 16, 2010

It has been way too long since I have written a post. My internship had me very busy and I didn’t finish a book for an entire month! That has now changed and I finished 4 books in the past week (reviews will be up soon…I hope)!

I did want to talk about my internship at an amazing literary agency (I won’t say which one, for privacy sake) a little because I know there are some people who read this who are writers or are interested in the business side. That and I just loved it so much that I want to talk about it.

Mostly, I read. I read queries, partial manuscripts, and every so often the elusive full manuscript. I know some people may take issue with an intern being the first to read their work, but really, it is a positive thing. There is a great blog post on Bookends that talks about the issue. I have to say that I agree with this intern completely. There were so many things that got to the partial, and even a couple of times the full, that wouldn’t have if just the assistant looked at it. There was one project in particular that I was very passionate about and, since I had proven that I had good judgment, we looked at and really liked.

For queries, I tended to just write at the top Y, M or N and had a sentence explaining why. A lot of times I underlined and commented within the query to show why I liked or didn’t like it, for myself more than the agent. It was a great way to learn about why agent’s and assistants make the decision they make. I will say, a lot of times there is some luck in getting the partial request. One example is that both the assistant and I love Lost and Stephen King, so there were a few queries that sounded Lostish or definitely had some influence from Stephen King, so we asked for the partial. One query alluded to Doctor Who, which I love, so I took a look a tthe partial.

Some people complain about those bits of luck, but really they are essential. When you get an agent, you really want them to be the right person and you want someone who will be an advocate for you in the business.  You want to “luck” into finding the right person for your work. I am not saying put references to other works hoping to strike someone who loves it, but understand that those little bits of what others call luck, isnt really luck, it is finding the perfect match.

The best example I saw of this was actually something I got towards the end of my internship. A fantasy YA query came in that was about a 12 year old girl who lost vision in one eye. I don’t want to get into details, but when I was 12, I lost vision in one eye and it has had the biggest impact on my life. I asked the assistant to let me request a partial that day and she let me. I read the partial and I loved it. The author really understood what it was like to go through the event. Sadly, I had to leave the internship before the assistant got to read my comments, but I did put pressure on her to read it soon because I loved it so much.

When I read the partial, I would write short comments, usually less than a page, that gave my opinion on the story, characters, and writing. The assistant would read, then look at my comments. Sometimes we would talk more about the manuscript before deciding whether or not to request the full.

I probably read about 10 fulls in my 4 months there. We didn’t sign anyone from these fulls, but did send back editorial letters to several writers with suggestions of how to improve their work. We would tell them if they did make some of our suggested changes, we would be happy to look at it again. Those letters were probably my favorite thing to work on, and the most challenging. I had to be nice in what I said and not offend the author, but at the same time I had to tell them how to change their story in ways that would make it work better. I am sure some were appalled by my and the assistants suggestions, but it was what we thought needed to be done.

I loved working with the agency and it really made me want to look at the agenting side of the business more. I think it is very different from the publishers side of things. I love both aspects, but it was a great experience!

If you have any questions about what I did or about hte internship (other than where it was) let me know!

Posted in Publishing | Tagged: , , , | 2 Comments »