Three of my favourite novels
• The CliffHeaven series by Ellie Dean (Published from 2013 to 2020) – What I particularly enjoyed about this book series is the central character Peggy who is seen as a maternal figure to all her boarding house guests and whenever a crisis seem to arise in the novel Peggy was always there with a soothing word and a can-do attitude. These characters felt very real to me. By the end of the series I considered them friends and that’s what I hoped to invoke in my own writing especially with my idea for a young adult novel involving chronic illness and disability. What I like is the most about Ali deans writing was that even though it was a difficult time period, The books aren’t too heavy or depressing and she strikes the right balance with having a lot of light moments as well as drama and resolution. When I read it picks up my novel I want to invoke a range of emotions I want them to laugh cry, grasp and rage along with my character is predicaments and that’s what Ellie Dean does so well. When I am reading one of her novels they offer me some respite from my own troubles and offers me a new perspective on how much attitudes towards gender in particular and the women’s role has changed. I also like how she seems to write about people from all walks of life from a prisoner of war working on her cousins farm, to a brief stint in Auschwitz, a double agent going behind the lines in occupied Nazi Germany to help with the resistance, to a polish fighter pilot, unmarried mother, A young evacuee being a carer for her brother and much much more. His characters are so diverse and well written that you find yourself having a lot in common with one of them. Particularly for me it was Sally, Who was a young carer for his brother resonated with me the most because of her determination and pride and for here also to learn that she needs to have her own life and independence. Similarly, I also loved the character kitty, A young girl part of the women’s RAF who loses her limb and has to readjust to life with a disability. Cordelia the elderly ‘grandmother’ of the boarding house, I couldn’t help smiling as I read on here exchanges between Cordelia with resident Irish charmer Ronan Riley and it reminded me of the sparring between my great grandmother and grandmother! Reading an Ellie a Dean book for me is like putting on my favourite pair of slippers after a wet day outside and a cup of hot chocolate in your favourite mug, curled up with your electric blanket.
• House Rules by Jodi Picoult. Jodi tends to write about subjects not often thought of in the fiction industry and the one I particularly enjoyed was a novel about an autistic boy whose social skills teacher is found dead and he is consequently put on trial for murder. What I liked about this book was that Jodi, often set straight the many preconceptions about children with autism and broke down the stereotypes. After I finished reading it made me realise how much I take for granted my ability to communicate and reason in the world. Jodi is one of those authors that doesn’t make you feel sorry for just one character but sees how one aspect of someone’s life like a child with autism affects not just them but the whole family and dynamic around them. Jody off intense to present are stereotype at the beginning of the book and a misconception about autistic that many of us have and then slowly through the narrative presents and the side to the story almost like an argument to some affect showing us how wrong it is to judge people based on the medical label and how we try to make people fit into certain boxes. Jodi’s Book staying along with you afterwards that you often discuss things that are normally taboo in society because you want to see what other people think and to get a dialogue happening about the issue which is what I would like to happen with my novel. Hopefully after reading it someone will see that having a chronic illness isn’t as easy as people think it is, it’s not just a matter of sleeping it off.
• The story of Amy and Matthew by Cammie McGovern (Published as say what you will in the USA). This novel is geared towards young adults and is again on the topic of disability and mental illness such as OCD. What Cammie does well in this novel is that how with each chapter the relationship between the two main protagonists slowly and unfurls. Very similar to John Green in writing style she is very empathetic unsympathetic to readers who may be going through the same issues as lamb but are in a way that they are not alone because it’s not often written about in fiction. Essentially she writes about the Taboo. Tell me is also very honest and blunt in her writing and does not sugarcoat the magnitude of both these disabilities and again like Jodi Picoult presents a normal rounded argument from not just the teenagers themselves who are going through this but their parents as well. She is definitely a champion of the underdog. She has a knack for taking complicated conditions such as quadriplegic cerebral palsy and OCD and explaining them in such a simple way that young people can get a glimpse of what it is like to have one of these conditions but at the same time isn’t condescending or is wanting you to feel sorry for the protagonist. She ultimately wants to invoke empathy, not sympathy. I hope to be able to transfer this skill into my own writing by reading a lot more of the young adult novels. When people read my book I want them to have a better understanding of these conditions and the behaps not be so reluctant To interact with someone with these conditions. She also has a knack for weaving complicated plot and serious issues all whilst being easy to read and I hope to be able to scale back on my Level of details that usually I like to write in my adult romance novels and simplify things without being patronising to the reader.