Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Jake Burt

Jake Burt teaches the fifth grade in Connecticut.

The newly released Greetings from Witness Protection! is his fiction debut.

Recently I asked the author about what he was reading. Burt's reply:
Like most authors, I have a TBR pile that's in danger of toppling over and crushing me; if nobody hears from me in a few weeks, look under the mound of kidlit in my basement. I know it's a wonderful problem to have, and it's one I frequently exacerbate by interrupting the natural progression whenever a book by a favorite author comes out. That's what just happened to me - a gigantic meteor slammed into my good readerly intentions, forcing me to put everything else on hold until I finished Philip Pullman's La Belle Sauvage.

Like so many readers, I fell in love with Lyra Belacqua from the first pages of The Golden Compass, and I've harbored as vested an interest in her well being as one can for a fictional character ever since. I named my cat after her. I tried to name my daughter after her, but my wife nixed it. So you can well imagine the voracity with which I devoured Philip Pullman's newest work. In doing so, I found it messy, meandering, and stunningly gorgeous. I cried multiple times, and felt that glorious constriction of the chest whenever Lyra, here in infancy, was in danger. That Pullman could have that effect on me, even though I already knew Lyra's fate as surely as I know anything, is a testament to the world he's created and the characters he's populated it with.

La Belle Sauvage is masterful, and I'm contemplating reading it again, even though that's not fair to Oddity by Sarah Cannon.

I'm fortunate to get ARCs of MG fiction from other friends on the author circuit, and Sarah's debut novel is one I've enjoyed so far. The strange little town in New Mexico she's concocted throws curveballs at you every few sentences (the story begins with fifth grade students facing down a leap of leopards in the gym, all as part of a school-sanctioned safety drill...), and though it's a lot for my semi-calcified brain to absorb, I'm certain that the far more elastic imaginations of her target audience will eat up Ada's adventures.

Up next after Oddity on the ol' pile are Cat Valente's The Glass Town Game and F.C. Yee's The Epic Crush of Genie Lo...unless, of course, I can't help but read La Belle Sauvage again...
Visit Jake Burt's website.

The Page 69 Test: Greetings from Witness Protection!.

--Marshal Zeringue