Friday, July 27, 2012

passing through

So, yesterday I spent the afternoon at the Santa Monica Public Library working with a group of amazing teens who write. I may have made their heads explode, because I think I said things to them that were the complete opposite of what they'd been hearing from some of the other authors who'd served as instructors in the program.

What do you expect?

We'll talk about this later.

I had been planning on blogging about my soon-to-be-released novel Passenger (October 2, Feiwel and Friends) today, and the universe must have tuned in on that intent because of this:

I received an email from the top of the Feiwel and Friends food chain, Jean Feiwel herself, in which she expressed her extreme satisfaction with a tremendous STARRED review Passenger will be receiving in the September 1 issue of Booklist.

First official review is in. And it reads as probably one of the best reviews I think I've ever received for one of my books.

So, thank you, Booklist. I'm not really sure if I was allowed to say anything because my editor, Liz Szabla [chimes!], the human being on the planet responsible for limiting my impulses, is on vacation. So I will show restraint and not quote the review, but I will tell you it begins with a big red star.

If I were normal at all, I would probably be gushing with gallons of moist squee.

But this particular reviewer nailed something perfectly right about his interpretation of the book -- something that I had intended to write about today, and something I spoke about when I previewed the book at ALA last month, and it is this:

Passenger really does complete the saga of Jack and his friends in many ways (which is why it is so freaking LONG!). Where The Marbury Lens looked at the effects of trauma within the very tightened boundaries of Jack's own psychology -- his ability to process, deal with things, stumble through choices -- Passenger looks at the larger environment of Jack's traumatic experience as it affects his friends.

And it is a really big environment, in which there is no shortage of blame and anger directed toward Jack from the two brothers, Ben and Griffin. Jack, naturally, wants to fix things but can't. The brothers want to go home, but home isn't there. Uncle Teddy, the preacher who was accidentally killed by Seth in The Marbury Lens, recognizes Jack for who he is and hunts him down through the multiple wastelands of a bigger, more toxic Marbury; and Henry only wants to manipulate Jack into closing the door once and for all so he can get back to the cigarette smoke and warm beer of London. Throughout all this, there is the selfless friend Conner, who only wants to make things good, no matter how bad things really are.

It is a cool story, and a good book with some pretty big surprises.

I also believe you could pick up and read Passenger and get what's going on just fine if you've never read The Marbury Lens, because the two books really do cover completely different paths in their explorations of post-traumatic psychology.

But, if you are a reader of The Marbury Lens, I'd highly recommend you re-read that novel, then wait for the September release of the short story King of Marbury, and count down the days to October 2 and Passenger.