Tuesday, May 20, 2014

My TBR List Expands by a Million. (Also, THE scariest/most gruesome/and somehow most gorgeously written book I've ever read)

Revising a book--at least the way I work, with 8+hour days broken into chunks and interspersed with multiple dog-walkings--tends to leave me with less time for reading. There's also the factor that my brain is pretty much fried when I shut my computer down at the end of the day. Over the past few months, I've read some good stuff, but not nearly as many books as I usually read. One or two chapters and I'm conked out on my pillow.

But all of this is about to change (I hope) in the next day or two, when I FINISH this draft and send it off to my critique partner. (OH DEAR GOD PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE let this book that I have been struggling with on and off since 2009 not be an unreadable/unfixable mess.)

I will have lots to read while I (anxiously) wait for my lovely critique partner's response. As you may remember, I have stacks of books teetering in rickety piles around my house. But those piles are going to be pushed aside for the time being to make room for more books:

1. Holly Schindler, YA Outside the Lines administrator and writer friend, asked me if I'd like to take a look at the ARC of her newest novel, Feral. (Like I needed to think even two seconds about that request. Um, heck yeah, I'll read it!)

2. Some extremely cool news that I still can't quite believe: Simon & Schuster invited me to go on a group YA author 6-city book tour through California. The tour is called The Summer Lovin' 2.0 Tour. (When I heard this, I had to laugh. Thin Space could not be more opposite of "summer" or "lovin," but I have decided to keep this on the down low.) A perk of the tour is a box of books authored by my fellow tour-ers. (See here for dates/cities/event sites) And here's a sample of what will be in the box:

3. The other bit of cool news is that librarians in Florida chose Thin Space to be on the Florida Teens Read list. How this works, I think, is Florida teens read and vote on their favorite of the books. I don't have a chance in hell of winning, but just to be on this list is something. I've read 3 of the books (Eleanor & Park!! The Fifth Wave!! The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight!!) but now I am eager to check out the others.

Okay, last but not least, and probably what you have been waiting for--the scary, gruesome and gorgeous book.

It's called Scowler by Daniel Kraus and it came on my radar a few months ago when it won the prestigious Odyssey Award --given to the best audio book of the year. I scrolled around on Goodreads and saw blurbs like this:

"Horrifically gory and intense"

"This book is true horror. Not horror in the sense that EEK! something might jump out at you, but horror in a deep, visceral, cerebral way...Pervasive terrifyingness based on the fact that everything you thought was safe and comfortable is monstrous -- including your own being."

"This book almost made me throw up. Seriously."

"Fair to say I had to put down my sandwich a couple of times while reading this, and I have a cast-iron stomach." 

So, yeah. I checked out the audio.

Here's the teaser: A desolate farm in the middle of nowhere. A teen boy lives there with his chatty younger sister and single mom. The dad's not around and we know something REALLY bad happened like ten years ago that got the dad thrown in prison and messed this boy up in ways that are still messing him up in the present. Also, a meteor is about to crash on the farm. One day a stranger comes to town. Turns out he's an escaped convict. He knows the father. The father may or may not be on the loose too and heading in their direction...

I made it maybe two cds into the audio and I realized something about audio books: you cannot stop listening to them. You cannot look away. The words, the images just keep assaulting you. My teeth were gritted together and my heart was racing as I was driving. The story is riveting and I was dying to know what was going to happen to these people, but I had to give up on the audio and head for the relative safety of the book.

Gruesome stuff aside, this is a powerful novel about abuse and family relationships. Highly recommend--if you have a strong stomach.


  1. YAY for the tour! And I know what you mean about audio books. I listened to UNBROKEN (Laura Hillebrand) and had to fast-forward a bunch of times, probably missing things I would have wanted to hear, but I just couldn't take it.

    1. Thanks, Tracy! And thanks for the book rec-- one that I will be checking out in book form and not audio : )