Monthly Archives: August 2011

Kathryn Stockett Loves Writing About Southern Women

If ain’t broke, don’t fix it. That seems to be Kathryn Stockett’s rule to live by. The bestselling author whose first novel, The Help, is about to hit theaters, is starting to put some thought into her next book.

According to Entertainment Weekly, Stockett will be focusing on Southern women in the 1920’s for her upcoming novel. Though she hasn’t begun to write it yet, it seems she’s already determined her focus and format, and it sounds pretty familiar. Historial fiction. Multiple storytellers. Focused on high-class women who must learn the ways of their lower-class companions.

In this article, Stockett explains that the 1920’s and Depression area were an interesting time for women, who had just gotten the opportunity to vote for the first time. But those women ultimately went from riches to rags.

So it’s about a group of women who were raised in a rather white privileged home and then the Depression hit and suddenly they have no support. They have absolutely no marketable skills. So they have to figure out how to work their way up into the world and figure out how to earn a living and support each other and take care of each other.

It sounds like Stockett has a niche. But it’s too soon to say if it’s a profitable genre, or if Stockett just lucked out with The Help.

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Jodi Picoult Loosens Up

Bestselling author Jodi Picoult is loosening up from her highly adult, controversial literature for something a little lighter: young adult fiction!

According to this article, the author — best known for My Sister’s Keeper, Nineteen Minutes, and Change of Heart — wrote the novel Between the Lines with her daughter, Sammy.

Picoult tends to tackle tough issues, like cancer, school shootings, and teen suicide. But according to her Facebook page, the new novel will be more light-hearted:

“Color me happy! My daughter Sammy and I JUST finished editing the young teen chapter book we co-wrote, BETWEEN THE LINES … it’s about a prince who wants to break free from his fairytale existence … and the girl who falls for him while she’s reading. It’s sweet and romantic and funny — and to celebrate, we’re going out for ribs!!”

So, here are a few things we have learned: 1) Picoult has a good relationship with her daughter, 2) she can write for teens (or so we expect), and 3) she loves ribs!

I’m a huge Jodi Picoult fan, and I think people who read her books quickly become fans as well. I would be interested in reading the new book and seeing how well it sells. I have to say though…it will be weird to read a Jodi Picoult book and laugh, rather than cry.

According to this article, publication for Between the Lines is set for June 2012.

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Review: Sugar and Spice

Recap: The L.A. Candy series comes to an end with the abrupt, predictable third novel, Sugar and Spice. The four girls who appear on the hit show, L.A. Candy, all have moments of realization about how un-real their “reality” show is.

Jane must decide between the two men who present themselves at the end of the second novel, Sweet Little Lies. Her best friend, Scarlett, attempts to have her first real relationship with a guy who refuses to appear on the show. Madison must deal with her secret past, when her (spoiler!) sister shows up in LA. And Gaby struggles with what she wants to do and what her new publicist is pushing her to do.

The themes of friendship and relationships continue in this book, as the girls confront each other, the show’s producer, and the paparazzi.

Analysis: In the final book of the semi-autobiographical series from Lauren Conrad, of Laguna Beach and The Hills fame, the lies and coverups become too much. The girls finally realize that being on a reality show, controlled by a hypnotizing, but deceitful producer, was never what they wanted. In the end, the girls learn what they want, who they are, and take steps toward refocusing their energy and time on what’s right for them.

Sugar and Spice does what the rest of the L.A. Candy series does — gives us a fluffy, light story that still manages to intrigue us. There’s a twist in Jane’s story that irritated me, but I ultimately decided it made sense in order to show her character’s growth. And though the writing is poor and the plots predictable, we have to wonder, is this what things were really like for Lauren Conrad when she was on The Hills? And it’s for that reason that we keep reading.

Not only is the ending inevitable, it also feels rushed. Scarlett’s storyline in particular was wrapped up quite quickly, and I found myself almost forgetting about Gaby altogether. This novel was also the shortest of the 3-book series. There’s no question that Conrad could have done a better job explaining how things ended. Instead, the last 2 or 3 chapters read like an epilogue.

MVP: Jane Roberts. The girl finally got a clue! After three books of reading about her and her horrible life choices, it’s nice to see the girl grow up and not be so naive.

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