2013 is shaping up to be a great year for verse novels. In addition to my verse novel debut AUDACIOUS (no cover art yet, sorry!) and a new novel by Ellen Hopkins (SMOKE) which will both come out in the fall of 2013, here are a few of the verse novels I’m looking forward to in early 2013.
I’m going to start with two books from Australian authors. I’m not sure if either of these will be published in print in the US/Canada, but that’s not going to stop me from tracking down an ebook is it?
RUNAWAYS by Sherryl Clark – March 2013The red balloon explodes
my blood runs hot from skull to toes
I grab my bag
Cassie and her brother, Jack, are on the run from the past, from the future and from their failure of a family.
But where can they go? And can you ever really run away?
(ed: a literal BLEEDING heart on the cover? Where do I sign?)
RUN by Tim Sinclair – March 2013
Run is an unmissable, pacey, paranoid thriller – genre fiction meets literary verse novel. (ed: you had me at genre)
Dee lives for two things: the physical/mental discipline of parkour, and the dystopic scenarios he invents to escape his mundane life.
He knows the city better than anyone – the hidden spaces at night, the views that no one else sees, from heights no one else can scale. With parkour, he’s not running away. He’s just free.
But when he’s caught up in a frightening conspiracy and the boundaries between fantasy and reality break down, he’ll have to run for his life. Run for real. Because just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they’re not out to get you.
THE LANGUAGE INSIDE by Holly Thompson – May 2013
Emma Karas was raised in Japan; it’s the country she calls home. But when her mother is diagnosed with breast cancer, Emma’s family moves to a town outside Lowell, Massachusetts, to stay with Emma’s grandmother while her mom undergoes treatment.
Emma feels out of place in the United States.She begins to have migraines, and longs to be back in Japan. At her grandmother’s urging, she volunteers in a long-term care center to help Zena, a patient with locked-in syndrome, write down her poems. There, Emma meets Samnang, another volunteer, who assists elderly Cambodian refugees. Weekly visits to the care center, Zena’s poems, dance, and noodle soup bring Emma and Samnang closer, until Emma must make a painful choice: stay in Massachusetts, or return home early to Japan
PRINCE PUGGLY AND THE KINGDOM OF SPIFF by Robert Paul Weston (February 2013)
Weston is back in rhyming style with a book about princes and princesses, kings and kingdoms, and what it means to look good in polka-dot bell-bottoms.
Prince Puggly of the muddy, supremely unfashionable Kingdom of Spud is surprised when he receives an invitation to a lavish ball in the far trendier Kingdom of Spiff. The poorly-dressed prince is sure that the Spiffs will take one look at him and laugh him out of their kingdom…
And that’s exactly what they do! But then Puggly meets Francesca, the bookish Princess of Spiff, and together the two set out to teach Francesca’s Spiffian countrymen an absurd lesson in style.
GONE FISHING by Tamera Will Wissinger – March 2013
Using a wide variety of poetic forms – quatrains, ballads, iambic meter, rhyming lists, concrete poetry, tercets and free verse –this debut author tells the story of a nine-year-old boy’s day of fishing. Sibling rivalry, the bond between father and son, the excitement – and difficulty — of fishing all add up to a day of adventure any child would want to experience.
Matthew Cordell illuminates this novel-in-verse throughout with his energetic black-and-white line drawings.
While each poem can be read and enjoyed on its own, the poems work together to create a story arc with conflict, crisis, resolution and character growth.
The back matter of this book equips the reader with a Poet’s Tackle Box of tools and definitions for understanding the various poetic forms the author uses in this story.
OUT OF THIS PLACE by Emma Cameron – May 2013
A powerful novel in verse captures the voices of three teens as they struggle against hardscrabble realities — and move toward their dreams.
Luke spends his days hanging out at the beach, working shifts at the local supermarket, and trying to stay out of trouble at school. His mate Bongo gets wasted, blocking out memories of the little brother that social services took away from his addict mom and avoiding the stepdad who hits him. And Casey, the girl they both love, longs to get away from her strict, controlling father and start anew in a place where she can be free. But even after they each find a way to move on and lead very different lives, can they outrun their family stories — and will they ever be able to come together again? Set in Australia and narrated in alternating points of view, here is an affecting look at the evolving lives of three friends from talented new author Emma Cameron. (This was published this year to considerable acclaim in Australia as Cinnamon Rain)