Please welcome author A.M. Robinson here today on the third stop of the Vampire Crush Blog Tour! You can read my review of Vampire Crush here.
McSweeney’s recently took a pretty thorough accounting of the current state of the book industry, and it’s definitely worth a read if you feel like wearing your Serious Business pants that day. But if you are just, say, wearing one Serious Business sock and the other one is lost somewhere in the dryer of Mindless Internet Surfing, I will tease out the most interesting point, which is that hey! American publishers are publishing more books than ever. In 1911, annual output was about 13,000 titles; by 2009 it had increased to 288,000. Granted, that number decreases when you nix all the books that don’t fall within a particular reader’s interests, but still; considering that even the most avid reader would be hard-pressed to read 150 books in one year, this leaves a lot of books eternally languishing in TBR piles.
I don’t know about you, but as a reader, I can feel it. Every time I have what I feel is a solid list of books to tackle next, a shiny new option with a wowza cover starts getting some press on the blogs, and all of my best plans go out the window. Even though I love reading the book that everybody is reading—and, Holy Moly, are there some good books on the horizon!—every now and then I start to worry that I’m missing hidden gems from years before. With that in mind, I think it’s important to talk up books that deserve a whole new round of readers. That is why I’ve chosen to write this guest post about how to write a query letter. . . Just kidding! I am going to write about some of my favorite books growing up, all of which fit in nicely to current YA. All of these come with a big stamp of approval, and if you somehow get hold of my copy, probably some doodly hearts.
If you like angel romance:
Sharon Shinn’s Archangel remains one of my favorite angel books, even with all the new goodies popping up on bookstore shelves lately. In Samaria, a new Archangel is chosen every twenty years to govern the people and give honor the god Jovah. Gabriel is the Archangel-elect, and as such, he needs to find the wife Jovah has chosen for him. The process is aided by his Kiss, the swirly gemlike glass that’s embedded in the arms of most Samaritans at birth and which is said to spark when a person meets their destined mate. But Gabriel is shocked when his kiss lights up at the sight of Rachel, the indentured human servant sent to stoke the fires in the morning—a woman who doesn’t even have a Kiss of her own. Not to mention that Rachel is bitter over the loss of her family and less than thrilled about exchanging what she feels is one form of servitude for another.
What follows is incredibly sweet love story, all set against a complicated political climate and an atmospheric world that takes influences from both the spiritual and the technological. Also, if you can’t read anything without the promise of books and books and more books, Shinn has written many more titles set in Samaria.
If you like retellings of classics:
Just to give you an idea of how much I like Susan Kay’s Phantom, a retelling of The Phantom of the Opera and my favorite book throughout middle school and high school, I reread it so much that I burned through two copies. One broke right down the spine, and then the replacement started shedding pages faster than I could tape them back together. By this time, the book had gone out of print, and paperback copies were selling used on Amazon for about $90 dollars a pop. And this was for a copy that came with the dubious warning: “Has a bughole in it.” Still. . .
Luckily, it’s back in print so I never had to figure out what that meant. I can’t praise this book enough. It follows Erik (the Phantom) from birth to death, starting in a provincial French village and traveling through his stint as a circus attraction, a stonemason’s apprentice in Rome, and a dark magician in Persia until he finally ends up at the part of the story we know in The Paris Opera House. Not only do you get Kay’s masterful take on Erik’s voice—which swings from scary to heartbreaking and then back again—you hear from a whole cast of invented characters, from his fickle (and yet still sort of sympathetic) mother to his beleaguered Persian bodyguard.
On a personal note, I would highly recommend this book. I read it years ago and fell in love with the Phantom of the Opera.
If you like ghost stories:
Mary Downing Hahn’s middle-grade novel, Wait Till Helen Comes, was the first book to really show me how paranormal elements can take a common tension—here, the relationship between a girl and her bratty new stepsister—and make it pop. After her mother’s remarriage, Molly and her brother, Michael, are forced to move into an old country parsonage, complete with crumbling church graveyard. Their new stepsister, Heather, is not adjusting well. She’s secretive and argumentative, and when Molly doesn’t give in to her tantrums she threatens her with her invisible friend, Helen. Only Helen isn’t an invisible friend. . . she’s the ghost of a little girl with a vendetta.
What I like the most about this book is how freaking evil Helen is—no heart of gold here; she will drag you to the bottom of the lake without blinking. I haven’t picked up a copy in years, but the ending still stands out in my memory. And I love how it’s dealing with something like this that brings Heather and Molly closer together. Ultimately, it’s a really good for MG readers, but also anyone looking for a gold-star example of using paranormal elements to one’s advantage.
So that’s it! But since we’re sharing . . . what are some books from yesteryear that you think deserve wider readership?
A.M. Robinson will be giving away three PRIZES to three different people who follow the tour. To enter, all you have to do is visit every Blog (Mine being the third) copy the secret code and follow A.M. Robinson on Facebook OR Twitter. At the end of the tour, your final stop will be Good Choice Reading where they will have a form for you to fill out and submit everything you have collected. It is not a requirement to follow my blog, but I would really appreciate it if you did.
Your secret saying is....gaze intent.
Here are the prize packages and it is INTERNATIONAL!
Signed HARDCOVER copy of Vampire Crush
A pair of whale-dotted pajama pants, a la Sophie.
Bat-shaped cookie cutter
Cute vampire monster mirror
"Vampire Blood" hand gel.
TWO ALTERNATE PRIZES:
Signed paperback copy of Vampire Crush
"Vampire Blood" hand gel
The next stop on the Tour is: 365 Days of Reading
And here is the entire Blog Tour list:
March 8th: With a Book!
March 9th: Once Upon A Twilight
March 10th: A Simple Love of Reading
March 11th: 365 Days of Reading
March 12th: Skyla11377 Reviews
March 13th: Without a Bookshelf
March 14th: Dark Readers
March 15th: IB Book Blogging
March 16th: Another Book Junkie!
March 17th: Read for your Future
March 18th: Good Choice Reading