Wednesday, January 2, 2013

What we're reading: Paranormal fiction

I usually avoid reading the book jacket copy--the "blurb" written on the fold-out paper cover of the book. "Book jacket copywriter" is an actual job title, and while some book jacket copy is written by the author (very little), most of it is written either by someone working at the publishing house, or by a free-lance writer, with mixed results. I have come to the conclusion that neither the jacket copywriter nor the book cover artist is required to read the book before producing the jacket blurb or the cover art (why not?!), and this can be a big problem. I have read some copy that was flat-out wrong in its description of the characters and events of the book, just as we have all seen book covers featuring blondes for a book with brunette protagonists, or worse--wrong age, wrong race, wrong height, weight, build, facial features, wrong scenery or worldview...it can be dispiriting if you are relying on a picture and a paragraph to tell you whether or not you want to read this book!

But for The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer, by Michelle Hodkin, the publisher got it exactly right: The book jacket art is not only eerie and interesting, but it reflects an actual scene in the book; and the jacket copy says just enough to get you to read it:
Mara Dyer doesn't think life can get any stranger than waking up in a hospital with no memory of how she got there. It can. She believes there must be more to the accident she can't remember that killed her friends and left her mysteriously unharmed. There is. She doesn't believe that after everything she's been through, she can fall in love. She's wrong.
I enjoy this teaser so much that I'm not going to say anything more about the book, except that there are paranormal elements, the characters and situations are interesting and well-developed, there's some snarky humor, and if you like weird stuff, mysteries, and romance, you should read it! (There's also a sequel, on order and coming soon.) Ages 15 and up.

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