News, Notes & Inside Info from a Children’s Book Author

Review: “Before You Go” — Librarian as Matchmaker

November 15th, 2012 Posted in Before You Go

Naomi Bates is a librarian in Texas, and she has quietly kept up a nice blog, YA Books and More, where she reviews current books and digital media. She was recently kind enough to read my book, Before You Go, and give it a review.

Naomi concluded:

Preller begins this book with a powerful scene and ends it with one as well.  What makes this book a recommended read is not necessarily the characters or the style of writing but the book itself.  With short chapters, it’s easy to digest and an excellent pick for a reluctant reader.  Jude’s character is one that guy readers will relate to, from the video games to music to his conversations and interactions with his friends.   This, too, makes it the perfect book for a guy.  I could relate well with the characters and the plot without becoming overwhelmed with intentional theme.  This is a book that could be read in a day or two…quick, fast and pretty tasty.

Thanks, Naomi. I’m grateful for that.

I used to experience a disconnect of sorts when I read reviews from librarians. They just didn’t read the same way that I did. As an extremely slow reader, I couldn’t understand how some librarians could consume so many books rapid-fire. I am friendly with one librarian who reads more than 300 books a year — next, next, next, next, next. That sounds awful to me. I need the empty spaces, the pauses, the reflection time. But it dawned on me that librarians often read with another ultimate reader in mind. “Oh, this will be good for Tamara, she loves adventures,” or “This might be the book for Lars, he’s got the same sort of deadpan sense of humor,” and so on. Whereas I read for myself, and often I read to feed the writer within me. It’s not better or worse, just very different. What I’m also trying to say is that I appreciate the librarian’s perspective, and the essential role she plays — of match-maker! — the person who helps bring books and readers together.

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One other aside: While some might consider this “a guy book,” I don’t believe I’ve seen one review written by a guy. Such is the YA world. Honestly, I don’t think this is a title with huge, across-the-board appeal to girls or guys. Hopefully there’s the right reader out there for it, one here, one there, though I can’t say with any certainty who that kid might or might not be. I’m grateful for any librarian, or bookseller, or parent, who helps lead a reader to it, puts my book in some kid’s hands, and says, “I think you might like this one. Somebody dies.”

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