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My New Literary Idol

I have author-envy. Yup. Like penis-envy for creative types. Omg, Laurie Halse Anderson is a genius. I just got done “reading” (by which I mean listening to, on Audible) Speak by this amazing author. Her characters are expertly crafted and her message is poignant, clear and powerful, in a non-obvious way.

I’ll admit it: I have a nonsexual crush on her.

Okay, not the person. I’ve never met her and, frankly, know nothing about her, but the woman’s work is amazing – the kind of fiction that wraps you up in its embrace and makes you feel so at home you never want to let go.

When I find a new author, in whose stories I get lost, I become addicted. And quickly. As a writer, I find I tend to approach literature with a critical (often unforgiving) perspective. I consider it a sign of good writing when I get lost in the story and completely ignore the craft. Anderson’s Speak enthralled me from the outset. The book pulled at the deep, empathetic places inside of me – the places that cry when other people are hurting, celebrate in the triumphs of friends and lap up love like a dog slurping water from a bowl.

As I was listening, I felt like I was Melinda’s only friend (I’m not even going to explain who Melinda is. If you wanna know, buy the book) and I wanted to advocate for her, only I was as unable to speak out as she was.

I don’t want to give away the plot. Forget getting thee to a nunnery. Get thee to a Barnes and Noble, or log on to your Amazon account immediately and get yourself a copy. In a broad-strokes, general way, I’ll tell you a little bit about the story – just enough to pique your interest. Speak is the story of a tortured girl with a secret. Like all good YA novels, it is a tale of personal empowerment.

Read it! Immediately. Read everything this author has ever written! In the past month or so, I have devoured The Impossible Knife of Memory, Speak, and Twisted. I just started listening to Wintergirls and please don’t tell me how it ends. That said, I’m telling YOU to read this author. She’s phenomenal!

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