Thursday, September 10, 2015

Jackie Lea Sommers

Jackie Lea Sommers is a young adult author who lives in Minnesota, where the people are nice and the Os are long. She is the 2013 winner of the Katherine Paterson Prize for Young Adult and Children’s Writing. Her first novel Truest is now out from HarperCollins.

Recently I asked Sommers about what she was reading. Her reply:
The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh

I picked up this debut novel, a retelling of A Thousand and One Nights, because the premise seemed impossible: that a feisty young girl could fall in love with a nineteen-year-old king who is murdering a new bride every morning, one of whom she is supposed to be. There’s so much inherent tension just in the idea of it that I knew I had to see how Ahdieh could manage it. She did more than manage it—she nailed it. This book is so lovely, so rich, so layered—and the characters so complicated and enchanting—that at my very first read, it became a new favorite. I’m beyond thrilled that there’s a sequel coming.

Saving Francesca by Melina Marchetta

Marchetta is a writing goddess. My bookcase is a Marchetta shrine, and my greatest hope is that someday I can write a novel that reminds readers of hers. Although I love all her books, right now I’m re-reading Saving Francesca rather methodically to try to figure out the key to characters and details; she is the queen of both, and this book is magic.

The Horse and His Boy by C.S. Lewis

This book is my metaphorical safety blanket. I’ve been tremendously nervous for the release of my debut novel, and over the last two months, I’ve probably read this book a dozen times, sometimes multiple times in a row. It’s a comfort to me: the characters I know well, the setting so rich, the twist so perfect. Narnia will always be my happy place.
Visit the official Jackie Lea Sommers website.

--Marshal Zeringue