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Wednesday, March 9, 2011

A Fan Of Good Writing

by Dave Amaditz

I get excited talking about someone who's on top of their game, someone who's one of the best at what they do. Any sports fan will understand. Heart pounding, you watch in amazement as your favorite receiver scores the winning points with a fingertip catch in the back of the end zone just as time slips off the clock. It's awe-inspiring. It's motivating. On some level, it makes me wish I could be like them.
I get those same awe-inspiring feelings as a writer when I find and read an author who's perfected their craft and has done it so consistently for such a long period of time. In the world of young adult fiction writer's there are notable standouts. Katherine Paterson, David Almond, Richard Peck, Robert Cormier, Jerry Spinelli, and Lois Lowry to name a few.  
Recently, Jenny, from Route 19 Writers, recommended an author to me, Kevin Brooks, and after reading nearly all of his books, I've placed him on my own list of personal favorites and consider him an awe-inspiring author.
If you like stories that come alive with fantastic characters, intriguing plots, in-depth storylines, a bit of layering and even a touch of crime and thriller, I recommend you read his stories, too.
With 12 published novels, he's not a newbie, so if you're having trouble deciding which one of his stories to start with, I'd like to recommend my favorite. Kissing the Rain (2004)
Of all of Kevin's characters, Moo Nelson, an overweight 15-year-old, speaks to me the most. I was easily drawn to the fact of his being an outsider. I saw the reality in his story. He's overweight, and he's bullied because of it. And it's not just something that happened at the hands of his schoolmates. It's the police, who attempt to blackmail Moo into testifying about a murder he has witnessed. It's his parents, who through neglect and denial of their own sad existence, force Moo to live inside his own isolated shell.
Moo lives in a dark world and his character is often confused and disoriented. It's an unfortunate reality for many, which probably makes the read so realistic. Kevin Brooks writes with consistent characterization. With a steady hand and perfect pacing he guides us through the story. His plots don't waver and he doesn't change the character so he can have a happy ending.
Kevin Brooks is one of the rare authors who writes consistently on the top of their game. It's easy and enjoyable to read his novels. It's just as important for me to study his style so that instead of simply being a passive fan, I can learn to play in the same arena as he and the other authors I love. Finding a writer like Kevin Brooks makes it easy for me to remain excited about my own writing.
 Other books by Kevin Brooks
Martyn Pig   Chicken House, 2002
Lucas   Chicken House, 2003
Bloodline   Barrington Stoke, 2004
Kissing the Rain   Chicken House, 2004
Candy   Chicken House, 2005
I See You, Baby   (with Catherine Forde)   Barrington Stoke, 2005
Like Father, Like Son   Barrington Stoke, 2006
Private Detective   Barrington Stoke, 2006
The Road of the Dead   Chicken House, 2006
Being   Penguin, 2007
Black Rabbit Summer   Puffin, 2008
Killing God   Puffin, 2009

Prizes and awards
2002   Carnegie Medal   (shortlist)   Martyn Pig
2003   Branford Boase Award   Martyn Pig
2004   North East Book Award   Lucas
2005   Buxtehude Bulle (Germany)   Lucas
2007   Carnegie Medal   (shortlist)   The Road of the Dead
2007   Kingston Youth Book Award   (shortlist)   The Road of the Dead
2008   Deutscher Jugendliteraturpreis (Germany)   (shortlist)   Kissing the Rain
2009   Carnegie Medal   (shortlist)   Black Rabbit Summer

1 comment:

  1. Okay Dave, you've convinced me. I'm off to find Kissing the Rain (well, not right at this exact moment as it's after midnight, but I'm off in spirit).