Wednesday, November 18

Posted by Laurel Garver on Wednesday, November 18, 2009 6 comments

Yesterday, I hit a point revising when I felt I'm losing the love for the story. Does this ever happen to you?

It was time to recharge. Nothing does it for me like a library run (I'd love to say a bookstore run, but after replacing a water heater, well...bound paper treats will not be in the offing for a while). At times like this, I need some literary Oreos. Double stuffed. Something cute, light and cheerful, like this sweet YA romance, In Your Room (2008) by Jordanna Fraiberg.

The inventive premise hooked me: a teen boy and girl strike up a long-distance relationship when their families house-swap and they have to spend the summer in one another's rooms. Told from alternating points-of-view (limited third person) plus e-mail and IM exchanges, the story clips along at a nice pace. I liked especially how Molly develops over the course of the book. Her yearning to become a fashion designer moves from a secret passion to something she throws herself into as she works hard to develop her skills. Charlie's voice is well drawn, though we don't get quite the same level of detail about how he spends his summer or how it changes him.

There are hints throughout of deeper psychological issues: Molly's grieving her father's death 10 years prior and adjusting to her step-dad, Charlie's struggle to be real and honest with girls when he lives in a female-dominated world (a two-mom household with twin sisters). The potential to go deeply angsty was certainly there, but Fraiberg's lighter touch was a breath of fresh air for me, and a good reminder to look for opportunities to lighten up my own work a little.


  1. Oh, yah. The "tired of the story" syndrome. Had it. Worry about it when it comes to revising a novel.

    And since when did we have to lighten up our work? (Mr. AngstandDrama wants to know... :)

  2. A well-placed piece of humor can be just the ticket for releasing tension so that the overall suspense builds at the right pace. Tonal contrast also makes the angsty parts more poignant. It's my MC's sarcasm-as-coping-mechanism that's one of her most endearing qualities, at least to me. Take away her wryness and story would just seem maudlin.

  3. I'll have to give this a try. I'll admit to much preferring 3-P POV to 1-P.

  4. been there! I went to the library today and checked out way too many books.I can't possibly read them all.

  5. SR: Welcome! I wonder if your POV preference comes from seeing 1-p done badly too many times. It's a difficult POV to write convincingly, without it feeling too artificial.

    Tamara: Ooh, you've piqued my curiosity. What goodies did you find on your library run?

  6. Hi Laurel,

    Thanks for commenting on my blog. I'm new at this so it's always exciting when I find out that someone other than myself is reading it.

    I've heard of this book before. I'll check it out based on your recommendation.