Patrick Ness’s YA novel is about a monster. Calling. A kid.
But apparently the kid is expecting a different monster. Apparently it was based on an idea by Siobhan Dowd, who is also a YA writer.
WHY I PICKED IT UP
I saw it on Influenster and it sounded interesting. It’s a decent premise. It was also a YA novel without the usual vampire/rebellion/slutromance thing.
WHAT I LIKED ABOUT IT
It was so brief, it’s hard for me to say. The voice is good. Clear. I like the imagery as well. He establishes a spooky mood. And the main character veers immediately from convention.
WHAT COULD BE BETTER
Frankly, if you’re giving a sample, make it enough to get a sense of the PLOT. At 20 pages, with almost half of that going to copyright, dedication, and introduction, there is very little to critique. And it’s not enough to get a sense of the plot, which is essential to hook readers.
For those of you writing your own stuff and putting it out there, you HAVE to hook the reader by the end of the sample. One of the best ways to do that is to expose the plot–get that chain of cause and effect moving–tip the first domino over. The readers will want to know how the rest of them fall.
RESULT: I DIDN’T READ IT
I may change my tune on this because the sample was SO brief I couldn’t really tell whether I’d like it or not. But I’ve got better things to do with my time right now–other books, NaNoWriMo, and I’ve just discovered Dexter on Netflix.
This is what books have to compete with and it’s why your novel’s opening AND your sample need to be outstanding–they’ve got to show me why I NEED to put down all that other stuff and pick up your book.