I wrote my first Amazon book review recently. I’m wondering if formulating reviews might not be an excellent way to keep track of the middle grade and young adult novels I’ve been reading in my attempt to try to learn as much as I can about the craft of writing for the middle years and teen age group. Compiling a review forces me to summarize succinctly what I’ve learned from reading the novel.
The first review I wrote was for Melinda Friesen’s young adult novel Enslavement. I was impressed with the way she didn’t make it easy for us to pigeon-hole her characters. Even the antagonists exhibited some good qualities and the protagonists had a number of characteristics that weren’t ideal. I want to try to include characters that aren’t easily labeled as good or evil in my own writing.
Friesen also does a great job of throwing us headlong into the drama of the novel from her opening paragraph. She reminds us how important it is for a writer to engage readers right from the first page.
Enslavement raises some great questions which would make for excellent discussion starters with teens. Although I know a good writer shouldn’t ‘hit readers over the head’ with moral platitudes and life lessons I want my writing to provide my readers with challenging questions to think about.
Finally I think the novel would be a good fit for use in high school classes and it is meant to the be the first in a series. Looking realistically at the market for middle grade and teen novels any aspiring writer realizes that if they want to make a profit they will need to sell their book to school libraries. If their novel is a hit they will also benefit financially from writing their book in a way that makes sequels possible.
I tried to summarize all the writing lessons I got from Enslavement in my Amazon review. Check it out for yourself to see how you think I did.