In her second semester at a boarding school for teenagers with special powers, Dancia Lewis faces danger from both inside and outside of Delcroix Academy.Take it away, Inara...
All of her life, Dancia Lewis has wanted to use her powers for good. And now that she’s learned the truth about Delcroix Academy—and herself—she may just get the chance. But being part of Delcroix’s top secret Program isn’t anything like Dancia expected. She has to ask herself: what happens to the Talented kids who refuse to pledge their loyalty to the Program? And why did her friend Jack run away rather than join? Dancia’s adorable boyfriend Cam insists they need the help of every Talented student to defend Delcroix from dangerous enemies outside their gates. But Dancia has to wonder: what if Delcroix’s most frightening enemies come from within?
Whenever I read a review of my books (and believe me, I do read them!) I am struck by how differently two people can read a book. One reviewer will find a book thrilling and action-packed, while another will find it plodding or slow. While this reflects different reviewers' individual taste, I think it also reflects what they're looking for in a book.
Let me explain the distinction with an analogy. I'm not a fan of the super-cutesy, pastel colors, lace and ribbons they put on some girl clothes. Whether I'm picking clothes for my daughter or myself, I'm much more inclined select a simple pair of jeans and a t-shirt than something that's embellished with sequins and sparkles. That's my taste.
Then there's what I look for when I buy clothes-their function, if you will. I like my clothes comfortable. I want to be able to go for a hike, clean the kitchen, do a few yoga moves, and then sit on the floor and play with my dog. Athletic gear, I'm sure you can imagine, is a staple part of my wardrobe. I could wear sparkly sequined yoga pants, but I don't. For me, the perfect blend of simple (taste) and comfortable (function) is a pair of black yoga pants.
What I'm looking for in clothes, however, changes. When I'm dressing for work, I need something different than when I'm hanging out on the weekend. For work I want polished, rather than comfortable.
So what the heck does this have to do with books? Taste in books, I think, has a lot to do with the way the author puts together sentences. It's the quality of the prose, the way the author uses language, the rhythm of paragraphs, pages, and chapters. I think this can also be called the author's voice. It's the unique sound that every author has, and doesn't change much from book to book, even if the plot is totally different. If your taste and my voice match up, fabulous--we're halfway to being in love.
But there's also what a reader is looking for in the function of the book. This is what you're looking for when you pick up a particular book, on a particular night. A dreamy romance with a super hot leading guy, maybe? Or perhaps a really complex plot, with a mystery to unfold as the pages turn. Then again, sometimes you're in the mood for a character driven story--a story that revolves around the growth and transformation of the internal arc of a character, rather than things happening externally.
I think both these things have to match up in order for a reader to fall in love with a particular book. You've got to love the author's voice, but you've also got to be in the mood for the kind of story that the author is telling. My books are often character-driven, but some are more action-oriented than others. Some are a short, quick love story with a fairly simple plot, and other are more complex and nuanced.
Obviously, if you read the wrong sort of book, you aren't going to like it. If you like a book with a lot of description and complex prose and you pick up a book with a terse, direct voice, you may find it overly simplistic. If you wanted a character-driven story, and you read something that is all about the plot, you're going to be unhappy with your selection.
As a reader, I've never been much for description and setting. I like dialog and crisp prose. That's my taste. But what I'm looking for in a book really varies. Some days, I pick up an adult category romance, because I want a fairly predictable love story that will keep me smiling the whole way through. Other days, I go for a complex YA dystopian that is going to make me think and imagine.
So, here's to you--what do you look for in a novel? What's your taste in an author's voice, and then what do you look for in a book? Characters, love story, action, or mystery? Does it vary, or do you find yourself always looking for the same thing? What do you do if you have to review a book that simply isn't to your taste?
Okay, it's giveaway time!
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Look for my review of The Marked to be posted soon!