Crossing Over

I just finished reading two books by cross over authors and it’s got me thinking — what makes a book or author appealing to both teens and adults? Besides that the authors are dusted by magic fairies every morning when they wake up (a possibility I haven’t thrown out yet).

One of the books I read was The Queen of Babble Gets Hitched, the third in the Queen of Babble series by Meg Cabot. It’s light, bubbly, and totally as fun as Meg Cabot’s teen books. This series has all sorts of interesting things in it like chateaus in France, celebrities, princes and whatnot. What really strikes me about it though is that the main character has a fascination that is completely bizarre to me — AND YET, when I read this book, I become totally fascinated with it too. Lizzie Nichols is obsessed with wedding gowns — designing and restoring them. How can Meg Cabot make that topic seem so damn interesting? But she does. I swear I was ready to start sewing on some glitter, just pass me your dress please. HOW DOES SHE DO THIS??? It is amazing. Completely amazing. I mean, if I were to go to the trouble of making a dress (unlikely), the recipient would have to promise to wear it at least once a week for the next five years. Not ONCE. Why would anyone actually want to make dresses that have such a limited life (and color options)??? But somehow Meg Cabot makes this seem like a fun thing to do. And I’m not the only one enjoying this one. Meg Cabot = Super Awesomest Writer of All Time.

The Host by Stephenie Meyer

I also read Stephenie Meyer’s The Host last week, her first book for adults. I was wary, I tend to think I don’t like sci-fi, though I almost always do, but I just wasn’t sure how this was going to work out. I love her teen Twilight series because of the angst, the yearning, and the sexy vampire thing. How much angst can an alien body invader have? And even if they do have angst and yearning, why would I care? But I did!! I truly did care about the alien body snatcher. That, in and of itself, is amazing enough, but the thing that really did it for me was that the author made time disappear for me. I wrote a post about almost missing my flight when I read Stephenie’s last teen book because time and space completely disappeared for me. Well, it happened with this book too. Like I almost burned cookies I was so engrossed in it, and you know how much I love cookies. I tend to get sucked into books more than most people (normal people, probably not the book people reading this blog), but even very great books cannot make me forget my cookies.* How does she do this? I don’t understand how she can make me disappear so completely into her books. One thing I did notice is that I always have a feeling of anticipation when I’m reading her books. I have a feeling something’s going to happen and I get sucked in waiting for it to happen — I don’t always know exactly what it is that’s going to happen, it’s just that I have this feeling.

So one of these cross over authors makes me interested in what the character is interested in, no matter what it is, while the other sucks me so deep into the book that time and space disappear. Is this the secret? Or is it something else? Like, say, magic fairies?

* I got them out in time, no worries, but it was a close call.

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2 Comments

  1. It’s a really good question – what is it about certain books that makes time and space disappear – that happens to me all the time, and has since I was a kid, reading Anne McCaffrey’s dragon series, or Frank Herbert’s “Dune.”

    On my best writing days, time and space disappear as well, and that’s maybe one of the best feelings ever!

    I’ll have to think about why, but I agree that yearning and anticipation are big pieces of the puzzle.

    I’ll be at the Kidlit blogger 08 conference, so maybe we can use all those great minds to figure it out…

    Namaste,
    Lee

  2. Those are definitely the best writing days! (unlike the ones where you check your word count every few minutes to see how close you’re getting to a respectable daily amount)

    Can’t wait for the Kidlit bloggers conference!

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