Tuesday, March 20, 2012


Right now it is time for me to write about Isobelle Carmody, but first I'm going to comment on Suzanne Collins.

I just finished reading Mockingjay, the second Hunger Games book. I read it in about twenty four hours. Same with the first one. I'd been meaning to read them for a while, before the movie came out, because I hate for movies to dictate the look of characters and places to me. And while I have obviously enjoyed them, and am involved with the characters and looking forward to the film, I knew from the first page that these are not very well written books. The sentences are clumsy, the dialogue is cringe-worthy and the metaphors are basic at best. The storyline and characters are its selling point. And the storyline is exciting, although it's also very predictable.

What this lead me to think about is the level of understanding teenagers and tweens have when reading. I have no doubt that I would have loved these books beyond measure when I was eleven, and even when I was sixteen. I loved any kind of adventure, or fantasy novel. I also know that I was always ahead of my age group in terms of book-comprehension, purely because I read so much. I obviously feel the conceit in this, but then again, an alarming amount of people I speak to now have no interest in reading books and what's more, seem to have a kind of smug attitude about it. Which is (ooh pun) something I actually can't comprehend.

Anyway, my long winded point is that while the Hunger Games were good for a trashy, quick read, I know that there are teenagers out there who can read more complicated sentences. Teen writing does not need to be dumbed down. It really plagues me thinking about whether or not Suzanne Collins dumbed down her writing on purpose for a younger audience, or whether she's just a bad writer and has no idea. There's a HUGE difference between simple writing and bad writing. And at least her editors should have known better.

All through the books I was reminded of Isobelle Carmody, whose teenage post-apocalypse is anything but cliche. About how she published her first Obernewtyn book when she was nineteen, and how much I love her for writing that series. It is not trashy, and it is not full of cliche writing. It has well realised characters and an epic plot that is so developed, it's taken her twenty four years to develop it. The first book was published the year I was born, and the last is being published later this year.

Basically, Isobelle is my hero. She's been a published writer almost her whole life, and has been able to live solely off of writing. I've been reading her books since I was about eleven. I read an interview with her today which reminded me of how awesome she is, and how much I want my life to be similar to hers. I met her a couple of years ago at Supanova, for the first time, and when I asked for a photo she said, "Yes, my daughter would love you!" (in reference my turquoise hair and bead necklaces.)

That is the face of someone fangirling out. But seriously, she was wearing a coat with a magical, sparkling eye on the back. She is a fantasy princess. And then she added me on Facebook. <3

To turn this post back to more superficial things, her fringe is SERIOUSLY calling to me. I've spent the last couple of years growing my fringe and layers out and cursing them, so it seems so wrong to then chop into them again. But with Isobelle and Grimes combined, I am having a hard time resisting.

Anyway, I think that's all I have to say on the teen fantasy genre and fringes. Is it fair to compare those two authors? Probably not, but I mean, it just happened in my head while I was reading. It probably sounds like I don't like the Hunger Games either, which is totally not true. I am really enjoying that series, and I especially think it's important to note that Katniss Everdeen is an excellent, human, not-trope-or-stereotype strong female character. From a feminist perspective, I think it's a +1. But I honestly think editors, publishers and authors need to give tweens and teens more credit when it comes to their reading skills. Maybe then more kids would get into reading, instead of finding it boring. Idk.

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