Archive | November 2012

From the archive: WHO WAS YOUR FIRST?

File:Beowulf and the dragon.jpgI 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?


This entry was posted on November 30, 2012. 5 Comments

November Verse Novel Reviews – Week 4

Huntington News reviews COLLATERAL by Ellen Hopkins and The Reading Date reviews the audio book

BOOK REVIEW: 'Collateral': Ellen Hopkins Returns for the Third Time This Year with Poetic Take on Warriors and the Women Who Love Them

Bunbury in the Stacks reviews MY BOOK OF LIFE BY ANGEL by Martine Leavitt

My Book of Life by Angel by Martine Leavitt book cover

Writing and Stuff reviews OCTOBER MOURNING by Lesléa Newman


Goldie Alexander reviews NOBODY’S BOY by Dianne Bates

Gathering Books reviews TROPICAL SECRETS by Margerita Engle

This entry was posted on November 30, 2012. 1 Comment

November Verse Novel Reviews – Week 2

Word Chasing reviews GLIMPSE by Carol Lynch Williams

Clear Eyes Full Shelves reviews COLLATERAL by Ellen Hopkins

Early Nerd Special reviews MY BOOK OF LIFE BY ANGEL by Martine Leavitt

Cardigans Coffee and Bookmarks reviews THE GOOD BRAIDER by Terry Farrish

Momo Celebrating Time to Read reviews LOCOMOTION by Jacqueline Woodson

For the Love of Books reviews INSDIDE OUT AND BACK AGAIN by Thanhha Lai

Born Bookish reviews ALL THE BROKEN PIECES by Ann E Burg

November Verse Novel Reviews – Week 1

Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books reviews MY BOOK OF LIFE BY ANGEL  by Martine Leavitt

My Book of Life by Angel

Early Nerd Special reviews WAITING by Carol Lynch Williams

THE IDAHO STATESMAN reviews LOVE AND LEFTOVERS by Sarah Tregay (can I just say how awesome it is when verse novels are reviewed by newspapers?)

Love and Leftovers

Aspen Daily News Online (Another newspaper!) reviews LUDLOW by David Mason


Book Whore reviews COLLATERAL by Ellen Hopkins


Books in the Middle reviews PLANET MIDDLE SCHOOL by Nikki Grimes

Planet Middle School