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Sunday, June 9, 2013

"Slayers" a YA novel by C. J. Hill?

I'm reading a YA book by C. J. Hill.

At the LDStory Makers conference I attended a number of classes that taught me I not writing YA like I thought I was. Foremost was the class on writing Young Adult fiction by the author, Janette Rallison, who also writes under the name, C. J. Hill.

Wanting to revise my voice as a YA author I thought I should read something that is broadly accepted as YA. In the bookstore, set up in the hotel, I found Rallison's section. During her class, I thought I understood her to say that her book, "Slayers" was a YA book aimed at the 'boy' audience. Being male, I thought I would give it a swing.

The book started with a prologue. A single chapter which was fast paced and engaging. I was drawn into the story and looking forward to reading more. I disagree with the author, or her editor, in calling it a prologue. It's tied directly to the plot, included characters who re-enter the story a chapter or two later, and felt like it should have just been called 'Chapter 1'.

Here's my dilemma. I get few hours each week to sit down and read a paper book, though I can listen to audio books several hours each day. My free time is extremely valuable. I could spend time with my children, cook a healthy meal, or actually spend some time writing. Fifty-four pages into the book I've lost momentum.

Our main character, Victoria Hampton, Tori, is unsympathetic. She's rich and self absorbed. While her stuck up mother was against her pursuing the 'rustic' dragon based summer camp, it may be conflict for her, but for me, I'm finding it difficult to care.

The supporting characters are as unlikable as she is. They're all arrogant and condescending to the new comer. They scrutinize and disparage Tori.

So far, Tori has been 'shown' around the camp by the boy who turns out to be her team leader. At each location her skills are put to the test, whether it be horse riding or archery, Tori has amazing skills which are, nevertheless, grossly inadequate to the team leader.

I see where the plot is headed, considering the prologue, but my only real interest is, "Will there be a character I will like?"

Again. My concern that I do not know what YA fiction is, and this story makes the point even clearer. At this point in a novel, one aimed at boys aged 14 to 16, I would hope to see a main character I would root for; one who may be an underdog, one who may need to make some tough decisions and major changes, but I would also expect someone I could relate to.

My ultimate question is, "Should I continue to read this book, or switch to one of the others I bought in the bookstore?"

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