I don’t remember the first time I heard about such a thing as a novel in verse, I suspect it was sometime in my teens, perhaps hearing about Dante’s INFERNO or Milton’s PARADISE LOST. Both of course are classified as “epic poems” among others such as Homer’s ODYSSEY or BEOWULF. I dabbled in reading epic poems in my late teens and twenties. I’m sure I thought I was a literary genius but to be honest, I’m pretty sure I never really “got” them.
I eventually wrote for film and television, then novels for kids. I kind of forgot all about reading “literature” and therefore any classic that hadn’t captured my fancy as a pretentious undergrad was now unlikely to ever make it back onto my TBR pile. The classic epic poems were relegated to the SRBPW (should read but probably won’t) pile.
Then a few years ago I read an article about Sonya Sones and her then latest book ONE OF THOSE HIDEOUS BOOKS WHERE THE MOTHER DIES. Quite apart from having a deliciously ironic title I was surprised to learn this book was in verse. A novel in verse? Like BEOWULF? For teens? I was intrigued and a few days later Amazon kindly delivered this book to my door. I breezed through it, enjoying it very much but was fascinated to discover that it was essentially a collection of narratively linked poems rather than an epic verse. I was amazed how well it worked.
Since then I have read dozens of novels in verse and written one of my own, AUDACIOUS which will be published in 2013. My verse novel reading coordinates with all my other reading in that I mostly read YA and MG. However I AM branching more adult material lately (I read the whole Games of Thrones series for example) so in the next few weeks I’ll be reading a couple of verse novels written for adults too: Ellen Hopkins’s TRIANGLES and THE MARLOWE PAPERS by Ros Barber both slated for publication in the next few months.
What was YOUR first verse novel?
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THREE FEMALE FRIENDS FACE MIDLIFE CRISES IN A NO-HOLDS-BARRED EXPLORATION OF SEX, MARRIAGE, AND THE FRAGILITY OF LIFE.Holly: Filled with regret for being a stay-athome mom, she sheds sixty pounds and loses herself in the world of extramarital sex. Will it bring the fulfillment she is searching for?Andrea: A single mom and avowed celibate, she watches her friend Holly’s meltdown with a mixture of concern and contempt. Holly is throwing away what Andrea has spent her whole life searching for—a committed relationship with a decent guy. So what if Andrea picks up Holly’s castaway husband?Marissa: She has more than her fair share of challenges—a gay, rebellious teenage son, a terminally ill daughter, and a husband who buries himself in his work rather than face the facts.As one woman’s marriage unravels, another’s rekindles. As one woman’s family comes apart at the seams, another’s reconfigures into something bigger and better. In this story of connections and disconnections, one woman’s up is another one’s down, and all of them will learn the meaning of friendship, betrayal, and forgiveness.Unflinchingly honest, emotionally powerful, surprisingly erotic, Triangles is the ultimate page-turner. Hopkins’s gorgeous, expertly honed poetic verse perfectly captures the inner lives of her characters. Sometimes it happens like that. Sometimes you just get lost.Get lost in the world of Triangles, where the lives of three unforgettable women intersect, and where there are no easy answers.