Friday, February 16, 2007

inventiveness in writing

I'm currently reading "Just in Case," by Meg Rosoff. She's also the author of "How I Live Now," last years Michael L. Printz" award (for a book that exemplifies literary excellence in young adult literature). "How..." was interesting, with a 15-yr. old American girl visiting her cousins in England at a time when some shadowy guerrilla force has risen all over the countryside. She and her cousins are left to fend for themselves while the adults of the household are gone. The character and voice of the girl was compelling, and the book was a little daring in that she becomes involved with her same-aged first cousin. A good read. The title of the new book, "Just in Case," is a play on words, as the protagonist, a 15-yr. old who has a doomed outlook on life, changes his name from David Case to Justin Case, not recognizing the irony. As he's in a clothing store looking for a set of threads to go with his new persona, he meets a girl who's decided to help him dress tastefully. Here's the author's description:

"Justin turned slowly. The voice belonged to a girl of perhaps nineteen who peered at him through a heavy, clipped pink fringe. Her eyes were thickly rimmed with kohl, her mouth neatly outlined in a vivid shade of orange that clashed perfectly with her hair. She wore four-inch platform boots in pale green snakeskin, wildly patterned tights, a very short skirt, and a tight see-through shirt printed with Japanese cartoons over which was squeezed a 1950s-style long-line beige elastic bra. A camera bag hung from her shoulder.
Even Justin recognized that her dress sense was unusual."

I love that inventiveness, which is typical of Rosoff; how can the reader not keep turning the page to see what kind of person we have here? The age difference intrigues, too; what's the author going to do with this? Agnes is obviously a lot more extroverted than the doom-struck Justin. Rosoff goes on with her inventiveness, and it all flows nicely without seeming contrived at all. It's entirely engaging. That's a great way to write.

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