As you may recall, I'm participating in Caroline Starr Rose's Verse Novel Challenge. The goal is to read five verse novels by the end of 2010. I've recently finished reading the fifth one so I thought I'd do a little update and give my take on the verse novels I've read.
Love that Dog by Sharon Creech
This was the first verse novel I read this year, which I reviewed here. I loved this book and read it in one sitting because I couldn't put it down.
Out of the Dust by Karen Hesse
A beautiful, heart-wrenching book. I was completely pulled in. The musical connection (the main character's love of the piano) especially resonated with me.
Witness by Karen Hesse
Loved this book. It was SO powerful. I especially loved how each of the different characters had such distinct voices. After a while I didn't need to see their names at the top of the poems; I could tell who was speaking from the language alone. I wish I had read this when I was writing my literature thesis on "Book As Experience" because it would have been a perfect fit.
Make Lemonade by Virginia Euwer Wolff
The prequel to True Believer, this book is simply lovely. Unlike the other verse novels I read, this was the only one that read as one long poem, rather than a collection of poems. I know in a previous post I questioned whether Wolff's verse novels could be considered such (since she herself refers to them as "prose with line breaks"). But I was dying to read Make Lemonade and figured that if it felt poetry to me then it would be OK to consider it part of the verse novel challenge. Let me tell you, it was pure poetry.
One of Those Hideous Books Where the Mother Dies by Sonya Sones
This was another book that I read in one sitting. I love the idea of a book set in LA and in the glitz and glamor of the celebrity world and yet the story rings true to any kid. The pain of loss, the trials of fitting in at a new school, these are all things that readers can relate to, regardless of the glamorous setting. My only quibble was with the ending, which was a teensy bit predictable, but it was still satisfying.