Writer Boom!Last weekend, I received an e-mail from longtime DQ reader Garrett Alley.
He said that he'd written a series of three books for his daughter, and he'd finally published the first one. He asked me to read it, but gave me every possible out if I didn't want to.
With that kind of politeness, I dove right in. I didn't expect much, not because Garrett isn't smart (he is), but because writing a novel is damned hard. I've written a couple, started at least four more, but I never had the patience to be successful (and I regret that). I'd get part of the way through an interesting story, run of out of ideas, and find hurried way to finish up.
It doesn't work that way.
In many ways, though, that's the hallmark of someone who isn't quite a real writer. They are a real writer, but not all the time. They're real in bursts. And even writing at that level is hard.
So when I started Garrett's book, I was just hoping for bursts of real writing. I thought that would be a real achievement.
What I didn't expect, at all, was a kickass book.
Jute's Charmed Life: Chameleon's Cloak is written for young adults (4th-8th grade). It has strong characters (and almost exclusively female, for his daughter), a cracking good story, and a terrific ending. It built momentum like a little steam train, becoming more and more engrossing the further I read.
About that story. It's phenomenal. I can't imagine a girl who wouldn't absolutely love to read this, and plenty of boys would love to read it, too.
I've read quite a few books for young adults--as Eli 12.1 became interested in a series, I'd often read along--but this is unquestionably one of my favorites. It has such a strong sense of place, and an equally strong sense of character.
Even better, there are two more books to go.