Saturday, May 7, 2011

Edgy Middle Grade Fiction

I just finished reading Jenny Han's book, Shug. Literally, I finished it like, about three minutes ago. Great read...I loved it. The story was a recommendation from Mary Kole, from the Andrea Brown Literary Agency, who was at our IN-SCBWI conference last weekend.

During one of Mary's sessions, she talked about middle grade (which is what I'm working on) and the importance of friendships getting complicated, characters starting to make tough, sometimes wrong, choices, and also the edginess that comes with YA, but making it not quite as edgy, and reserving those major problems for secondary characters.

Han's book did just that. I struggle with that edginess and working it in correctly to the story. Jenny Han took her secondary characters and made them come to life, showing their faults and their strengths through scenes so real I could hear the fights between Shug's mom and dad, see the tears on Shug's face when she walks home because Mama forgot her after school, smell the dinner Mama cooked up as an apology....the list goes on.

After I let this one sink in for awhile, I'll go back and reread, taking notes as I go. If you're after a great novel with excellent voice and characters that will stay with you long after you're done reading, Shug is the book to get.

Thanks for stopping by,

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