Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Thoughts After Reading "Destiny, Rewritten"

If you follow my Facebook page, you know that I just finished the wonderful new novel by Kathryn Fitzmaurice, Destiny Rewritten. What I wrote on my page was not exactly a review, but it summed up what I felt after reading it:

"Go buy it now (you'll find it in the children's/Young Adult's the one NOT about vampires). Whether you're 10 or 110, it will captivate you, and leave you better for having read it. And isn't that what good books are supposed to do?"

I had intended to write a more straightforward review here, but the book has had me thinking, which is always dangerous. For those who want to know a little more before heeding my command to go out and buy it now, it is the story of 11-year-old Emily Elizabeth Davis, who has been told her entire young life that she is destined to become a poet like her namesake, the famous poet Emily Dickenson. But what her mother wants for her destiny and what she wants for herself may not be the same thing, which leads her on a quest: a quest for a lost book of poems that contains her life story, a quest to find her father, and a quest to find out if destiny really is set in stone, or if we can help it along. And who doesn't love a good quest?

My synopsis doesn't come close to doing the novel justice, so here's a passage that will show why Fitzmaurice is the writer and I'm the bookseller:

"We circled the store until we found the poetry section, which was as big as they said it was in the phone book, with shelves to the ceiling and stools you could use in case you needed a book that was higher than your arms could reach. Possibilities, everywhere. It was exactly the kind of place you never wanted to leave."

Possibilities, everywhere. Best two-word description of a bookstore ever.

As I said above, this is a rare Middle-Grade/Young Adult book that doesn't follow the trendy vampire formula, but it is much more. The reason it will appeal to young and old alike is that it's a well-crafted story with real characters and great dialogue, and that's what readers of any age want. Think about some of the great books: Treasure Island (an adventure story for boys and a literary classic), Winnie the Pooh (a children's story and a literary classic), Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (a kid's book and one of the best novels to come out in decades, hype notwithstanding).

I mention these books to make a simple point: great stories are timeless and ageless. Carlos Ruiz Zafon put it this way when asked about his young adult novel The Prince of Mist, released a decade before The Shadow of the Wind: "I did not write it for teen readers, but rather for everyone who loves to read."

That pretty much summarizes my feelings about Destiny, Rewritten: it's for your kids, and for you, and for everyone who loves to read.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you, Paul. This review is so very special, and I have printed it so I can keep it forever.