Here's another entry from our Seattle HOST, Stephanie Guerra! Her debut young adult novel, TORN, will be published by Marshall Cavendish in spring of 2012.
A couple of nights ago, I visited Secret Garden Books to see Stages on Pages, a book tour comprised of YA authors who hail from various backgrounds in the performing arts. The tour will stop at cities along both coasts, with changes in the author line-up depending on location. For more information on who will be where and when, go here.
The gathering at Secret Garden opened with a gorgeous violin performance by Jessica Martinez, and moved quickly to author readings. It was a treat to hear the authors (pictured below) read their own work, and I got a good sense of each of their strengths.
Audition by Stasia Ward Kehoe is a stunning novel in verse about Sara, a ballerina struggling with the intense pressures of her art. Kehoe’s writing is lyrical and elegant, with strong images that resonate with emotional truth. This is verse at its most accessible, meant for lovers of poetry and prose alike.
Virtuosity by Jessica Martinez is the story of Carmen, a teenage violin prodigy who falls in love with her greatest competitor. Martinez is a master wordsmith. Her descriptions are simple but evocative, and I felt the depth and complexity of Carmen’s relationship to music in the first few pages of the book.
Amplified by Tara Kelly has got me excited about voice. Kelly has a pitch-perfect ear for dialogue, and she’s nailed the voice of a young female guitarist who pursues a future with a rock band instead of going to college. When she finished the reading, I was convinced I’d heard the living character speak to me.
Second Fiddle by Roseanne Parry is set in Berlin just before the Wall came down. It has a blockbuster plot and a great hook: When thirteen-year-old Jody and her friends witness the attempted murder of a Soviet officer, they save his life and attempt to protect him by disguising him as their music instructor.
Adios Nirvana by Conrad Wesselhoeft is one of those books that grabs you by the throat and gives you a dose of gritty truth. Unflinching and honest, it is the story of a talented boy wrestling with an accomplished twin, his own musical future, and an instructor he’d rather not have. The voice is pure teen male: curses, crudity, and general bravado concealing a good heart and passion for music.
Jewel and the Key by Louise Spiegler is a jewel-box of a book, with lovely descriptions of old-time theater. In this historical fantasy, a time travel device shuttles the heroine between 1917 and the present. In both periods, she is drawn to Seattle’s grand Jewel Theater, where she must come to terms with the realities of war, past and present.