Voice versus volcanoes

I recently checked out two YA books from the library.  Both have been on my “to-read” list for a while, though admittedly one is by a favorite author.  I had high hopes for the first one.  It was a post-apocalypse survival story that begins with the eruption of a super-volcano!  I don’t know what happens next.  I put it down after about 15 pages.  It didn’t matter how exciting or action-packed the premise was.  The writing wasn’t there for me and neither was the voice.

Nothing much happened exactly in the first few pages of the second book.  A girl gets on to a train.  Another girl is angry about the loss of her father months before.  But the voice is there.  Two voices, in fact since the book is written from alternating perspectives.  I’m immediately drawn right in.  I tear through the book over the course of the next 3 days.  I need to know what’s going to happen to these characters.  What will they realize?  How will they grow and change?  There are no volcanoes, but when someone writes about life in a way that is so universal and yet specific and detailed to the characters they create, so that the reader feels they are somewhere new and somewhere familiar all at the same time it’s better than a volcano or an earthquake or a vampire zombie attack…..at least for me it is.

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