#IGAuthorLifeJan – DAY 13 – Friday the 13th
Today is Friday the 13th of January and I thought that I should post a book I loved and found to be unexpectedly creepy when I read it: These Broken Stars by Spooner and Kaufman. Holy FRAK, I got totally spooked by this one.
Anyway, my review of this MUST READ is below. #amiekaufmanauthor #meaganspooner
Only once in a while, does a book shave a few decades off my aged brain and cause me to run around screaming like a teenager, out of my mind obsessed. I tell everyone about it, down to the random lady counting her coupons in front of me at Market Basket. Really – I did, though she eyed me warily, debating whether to taser my weird butt.
I tell the kids on the bus, the bookstore I bought it from, other story-freaks like myself, but most of all, I tell other novelists. Because, quite frankly, this blew me away as a writer. I understood what Spooner and Kaufman did in THESE BROKEN STARS, and it left me awed. It was like being at a concert, listening to a band that people rarely listen to, but everyone is screaming at their greatness because you know, KNOW, this crazy band is about to skyrocket.
To me, Spooner and Kaufman broke the rules of most YA tales out there, writing the book almost like a film, and I ADORED it. More importantly, they didn’t put angst in there for the sake of angst. The leads, Lilac and Traver, had reactions and emotions that FIT – not overblown, not excessive, just 100% real. Plus, the authors scared the crap out of me with the whispering voices-in-the-night thing. Jeeze, I’m a wimp I know, but stuff like that FREAKS ME OUT. Loved it – pure, skin crawling torture, like JAWS – show just a little, nothing crazy, but how it is presented sends chills through your body.
Brilliant – BRILLIANT – was the idea to interlace the lead boy’s interrogation (a jump forward) with the storyline of what had happened. Dear god almighty – it was a stroke of genius. It is how the entire story kicks off – seven lines, between an unknown interrogator and a young, decorated war hero named Traver and his mention of lead girl, Lilac LaRoux:
“When did you first meet Miss LaRoux?”
“Three days before the accident.”
“And how did that come about?”
“Meeting Miss LaRoux.”
“How could it possibly matter?”
“Major, everything matters.”
I read those lines and knew, KNEW I was about to enter one hell of a story. As a writer, the killer way THESE BROKEN STARS opens with just seven lines that say so much, literally made me hold my breath. I read the page several times, and thought to myself, “This, THIS is how storytellers find greatness.”
Maybe it’s because I am a novelist and professional writer, but that single page caused a devious grin to spread on my face, and I tuned out the world until I hit the last line of the book.
The story was insane – loved every unique little plot point, every sway of the tall grass in the plains, every smoking detail of a space liner as it plummets to its death on an unknown planet. I lived inside the world that Spooner and Kaufman created, tearing through the book in a day – yes, A DAY and it was a work day, so I read like a druggie needing a hit. It’s a world that haunts me still . . .
I can’t even describe the entire story, but someone called it “Titanic in Space,” but that’s not accurate. No this story is a brand new world – a new vision of greed and sacrifice and what it is to really exist. If anything, it is the TV show LOST, but set on an abandoned planet with only two people who make it off the “jet” alive.
The silence that encompasses the two survivors of the space liner, Icarus, are opposites on the social spectrum – there is Lilac, heiress to empire of wealth and controlled by her powerful father. She is a bit of a rebel herself, but is surrounded all the time by those who seek to bend her life the way her father demands.
Then there is Traver, a young and decorated war hero. He is also aboard the Icarus, dragged there by a media-frenzie surrounding his story – a boy from nothing who becomes the pinnacle of heroism. He hates it and just wanted to go back to his simple life.
But then something terrible happens to the Icarus, and it plummets with all 50,000 souls aboard. Traver and Lilac, thrown together among the chaos of stampeding passengers, find their way to a mechanic’s escape pod and manage to crash on a planet, surviving the impact.
I love how Kaufman and Spooner paint the world they land on and the desolation of apparently being the ONLY people on the planet. I love how the authors portray the bits and pieces of violence that had rained from the sky when the Icarus fell, and how Traver tries to hide it all from Lilac . . . though she is no fool.
But it is the apparent descent into madness by Lilac, and how Traver tries to handle it, that is fabulous. And Lilac evolves into who she truly is on the inside as that spark that was so completely snuffed by her father, begins to ignite.
But the ending . . . Oh man.
While unmissable by readers, THESE BROKEN STARS will be unforgettable if you are a writer. Do yourself a favor and tune out the world for a day and just become LOST with Traver and Lilac.
Simply unforgettable . . .
#IGAuthorLifeJan – DAY 12
In the Summer of 2013, before Undertow even came out, I had the honor of working with some very talented Cape Cod teens – all of who looked like the characters from Undertow. They were bold enough and brave enough to be the faces of a book that had yet to meet any readers – for all they knew, it could’ve been a total flop. Thank goodness Undertow was well received by reviewers. That cast of “characters” went on to be at book launches and sign as their characters (and oh, the teen girl fans . . . let me tell ya).
Emily Penn was the face of Elizabeth Walker. To this day, when I write scenes involving Elizabeth, I see Emily’s face. Mad thanks to all the young adults who braved hours in a dark photoshoots to bring Undertow’s characters to life!
#IGAuthorLifeJan – DAY 10
Truth: I’m always writing, even though sometimes it’s in my head. Right now, however, I am focused on Last Light. Though I am itching to try my hand at some new characters and worlds, I adore my Undertow crew and want to send them out in wild style with Last Light. It will be a BIG book!
#IGAuthorLifeJan – DAY 9
Where I Write
Where I write is on the 3rd floor of my home on Cape Cod. From the windows, I can see Cape Cod Bay all the way out to Provincetown. It is quite beautiful and I’m blessed to have such a view. But I also write in front of my fireplace, at the beach, in the school bus, jammed in my car – you name it, if the muse strikes, I write.
For the purposes of #IGAuthorLifeJan however, I’m posting a picture of my view from my office – it was a foggy day on old Cape Cod when I took this photo and I was working on a Vlog for Hall High School in CT (that’s my Yeti mic next to my Mac).
#IGAuthorLifeJan – DAY 8
Okay folks – I’ve got this one in the bag! I’m a SOCK FREAK! My favorite sock company is Stance, and I can even remember when I got my first pair – an impulse buy thanks to my mom at a surf shop in West Palm Beach. They are the most comfortable, coolest-looking socks on the planet. I even asked for pairs for CHRISTMAS. Yes – I’m that addicted.
This year I scored Star Wars socks (R2D2 and C3PO and Leia and Gabba). I gotta say – if you hate cold feet and you love wild socks, this company is a MUST!
#IGAuthorLifeJan – DAY 7
How I relax
Seriously? How do I relax? Dude – I’m a novelist, a bus driver, and a graphic artist PLUS the parent of a driving teen and an 8 year old with a Minecraft addiction.
Relax? WTH is that?
Summer. I relax in summer . . . until I try to drive anywhere on Cape Cod and get stuck in traffic that lasts eons.
#IGAuthorLifeJan – DAY 6
WIP (Work in Progress)
I’m working on Last Light . . . mainly because fans would knock down my door and burn my computer if I didn’t get the sucker done soon. I will admit . . . I LOVE this book . . . mwaa haa haa!
#IGAuthorLifeJan – DAY 5
My Writing Uniform
So, the idea that I have a writing uniform that is anything beyond my ancient college duds and what I can scam off my 16 year old daughter, is laughable.
I wear what is clean and comfy, y’all. Don’t look for me in anything trendy, although in this photo I am wearing an American Horror Story hat from Hot Topic. It reads, “Normal People Scare Me.” Ain’t that the truth . . .
This is #IGAUTHORLIFEJAN
Day 4: My TBR pile for the month
Maybe it’s just me, but I have a hard time reading when I’m eyeball deep in writing. So while I did get to read The Lovely Reckless by Kami Garcia over Christmas break, I doubt I’ll get to read much of my TBR for January due to the pressing need to write Last Light.
Yeah – you KNOW you want me to finish that sucker.
Anyway, in a perfect world, I’d write my fingers off and read all these . . . (including my OWN manuscript, Last Light) in the bitter cold month of January.