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How to Write a Novel (Vintage…

How to Write a Novel (Vintage Contemporaries)

by Melanie Sumner

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I'm just a little tired of precocious 12 year olds. The premise is clever and the stories told by Charles and by Aris's mother Diane, via the writing their characters do, were interesting. Aris (short for Aristotle) herself, meh. But, overall, I liked the book, as in "it was fine/ok", just didn't love it. Once again, Kirkus Reviews and I part company. ( )
  bookczuk | Feb 1, 2016 |
For me, this book started out too cutesy (but not cute) and contrived.. The 12.5-year old first person protagonist is going to write a novel in 30 days with the help of an instructional book. Initially she seemed too adult while her mother seemed too childish, but the child did start seeming more her age. And used footnotes to explain emoticons.

There is the cliché of a missing parent. There is the obligatory child abuse, although the book isn't mainly about that. Fortunately, there is not a child with a fatal disease – that would have made this the trifecta of YA literature. There is a somewhat interesting ghost doing ghostly things. The pre-teen angst wasn't even very angsty.

A kindergarten teacher says, “I want to marry Max.” That would be okay except that Max is not her boyfriend, he is one of the kindergartners. Rather unsettling.

Also unfortunately, there isn't a plot, at least not much of one.

Good ol' mom tries to sneak tofu corn dogs instead of meat corn dogs into hot dog buns. Corn dogs, tofu or meat, don't go into hot hot buns – that's the whole point of a corn dog.

I did like the quote, “Except for the ten-foot statue of Nathan Bedford Forrest, founder and grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, who sits on a horse in front of the courthouse, you would never know that racism ever existed in Kanuga.”

While mildly entertaining in spots, this is a book that feels like it tried too hard, and it shows.

I was given an advance copy of this book for review, and the quote may have changed in the published edition. ( )
  TooBusyReading | May 21, 2015 |
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"A teenage girl sets out to write an autobiographical novel of her family in Kanuga, Georgia, according to the advice in 'Write a Novel in 30 Days!'"--

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