“The Isle of Youth” stories by Laura van den Berg
The first thing that went wrong was the emergency landing.
How could you not read on after that first sentence? These stories mesmerized me. Women of various ages navigate lives cloaked in secrecy and deception: two sisters run a P.I. business together in Florida; a newlywed couple embark on a honeymoon fraught with turmoil, both inner and outer; a teenage girls acts as her magician mother’s assistant but is up to her own intrigue after hours. Beautifully written stories combined with complex characters add up to one amazing read.
What I learned: How much I love and admire the perfect first sentence to a story. It’s what I aspire to write and this collection is filled with them.
“When We Woke” a YA novel by Karen Healey
My name is Tegan Oglietti. One of my ancestors was a highwayman, and another was a prince.
Imagine being shot. Then imagine waking up only to find that one hundred years had passed. One hundred. That’s Tegan’s story. She finds herself trapped within the confines of government bureaucracy and secrecy, in a world where she knows no one and the future isn’t as positive as she had imagined or hoped. It’s an awesome premise that kept me turning the pages.
What I learned: That song titles (in this case for the Beatles) make an interesting structure/container for the story.