10 Nov

Verse Novel Challenge Update

Posted in Literature, Poetry

Hi all!

As you may recall, I’m participating in Caroline Starr Rose’s Verse Novel Challenge.  The goal is to read five verse novels by the end of 2010.  I’ve recently finished reading the fifth one so I thought I’d do a little update and give my take on the verse novels I’ve read.

Love that Dog by Sharon Creech

This was the first verse novel I read this year, which I reviewed here.  I loved this book and read it in one sitting because I couldn’t put it down.

Out of the Dust by Karen Hesse

A beautiful, heart-wrenching book.  I was completely pulled in.  The musical connection (the main character’s love of the piano) especially resonated with me.

Witness by Karen Hesse

Loved this book.  It was SO powerful.  I especially loved how each of the different characters had such distinct voices.  After a while I didn’t need to see their names at the top of the poems; I could tell who was speaking from the language alone.  I wish I had read this when I was writing my literature thesis on “Book As Experience” because it would have been a perfect fit.

Make Lemonade by Virginia Euwer Wolff

The prequel to True Believer, this book is simply lovely.  Unlike the other verse novels I read, this was the only one that read as one long poem, rather than a collection of poems.  I know in a previous post I questioned whether Wolff’s verse novels could be considered such (since she herself refers to them as “prose with line breaks”).  But I was dying to read Make Lemonade and figured that if it felt poetry to me then it would be OK to consider it part of the verse novel challenge.  Let me tell you, it was pure poetry.

One of Those Hideous Books Where the Mother Dies by Sonya Sones

This was another book that I read in one sitting.  I love the idea of a book set in LA and in the glitz and glamor of the celebrity world and yet the story rings true to any kid.  The pain of loss, the trials of fitting in at a new school, these are all things that readers can relate to, regardless of the glamorous setting. My only quibble was with the ending, which was a teensy bit predictable, but it was still satisfying. 


Comments on this post

  1. salarsenッ says:

    Those look great! I've heard of Love That Dog. Don't know if the plainness of the cover is what hooked me, but I've been wanting to read it. Thanks for mentioning the others.

    1. Caroline Starr Rose says:

      Gabi, I'm so glad you've enjoyed this challenge. It's really benefitted me, too. OUT OF THE DUST was the first verse novel I'd ever read. I remember reading it on a road trip in 1999 and thinking is was like nothing I'd ever read (I think Karen Hesse is a genius. Have you ever read THE MUSIC OF DOLPHINS?). Once I started writing MAY B., I didn't let myself anywhere near DUST, as I was sure it would utterly deflate my meager attempts.

      I read LOVE THAT DOG for this challenge and found it lovely. WITNESS is on my nightstand. Need to get to MAKE LEMONADE (TRUE BELIEVER was wonderful). I'm embarrassed to say I haven't read any Sonya Sones yet.

      Here's to winning the ARC! 😉

      1. Dave Symonds says:

        Definitely check out The Brimstone Journals and Shakespeare Bats Cleanup by Ron Koertge. Shakespeare Bats Cleanup is a verse novel from a boy's perspective! (Who'd ever write something like that?!?!)

        Also, Heartbeat and Hate That Cat by Creech are both really good too.

        1. A Lil Sumpin' Sumpin' says:

          I wrote about Witness in my thesis!

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