It's no secret that Molly O'Keefe's novels are my favorites in the very crowded contemporary romance genre. Her books, which on their surface follow the norms of romance novels (since that's what they are), are brilliantly subversive. All of the novels I've read by this author riff on romance archetypes and conventions in a deliciously satisfying manner. Molly's latest, Wild Child, is no different.
Wild Child focuses on Monica Appleby, famous reality television teen wild child, who wrote a bestselling tell-all memoir of her raucous and destructive formative years. She's alone, her closest friend having recently died and not having a relationship with her mother, and has returned to the town of Bishop, Arkansas to write her follow-up book, this time chronicling the events of her parents' tumultuous relationship and her father's subsequent death. Monica is all hard edges and walls, unwilling to make even casual connections with anyone.
Monica ignored Jackson as he slid into the booth across from her. First the Cracker dude and now Jackson. Good Lord, weren’t the headphones a giveaway? Did she need to make a Do Not Disturb sign? This was why she so rarely went to coffee shops to work, preferring her own company and her own music.
The mayor of Bishop is Jackson Davies, who dropped out of law school and returned to his hard-luck hometown to raise his younger sister, Gwen, after their parents were killed in a car accident. Jackson never wanted to make Bishop his home; the town is dying, with an empty factory gathering dust and many of the town's residents struggling in the blighted economy. His father was mayor of Bishop as well, and his goal at the town's leader is the turn the economy around, make sure his sister is safely away at college and then get out of town.
We're super-excited to have a two-part episode of the podcast with our friend and a favorite author, Mindi Scott. Mindi is the author of two outstanding books for teens, Freefall (2010, Simon Pulse) and Live Through This (2012, Simon Pulse).
Mindi's novels are "quieter" stories focussing on characters taking control of their own lives--stories of personal agency. We thought it would be great to have her talk about this theme in the context of not only her own books, but those she recommends as well. Mindi brought up some fascinating concepts related to how these types of stories are constructed, so we hope you enjoy!
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I wasn’t planning on writing about Lauren Myracle’s The Infinite Moment of Us.
When I first picked it up, I only waded through three chapters before deciding it wasn’t for me. Then, glowing reviews piled up, and I thought that maybe I wasn’t in the right mood for this novel and gave it another shot. I slogged through all but the last couple chapters before abandoning the novel again. Finally, after chatting with Laura about the numerous aspects of The Infinite Moment of Us that frustrated and disappointed me, and deciding that my aggravations were probably worth noting on CEFS, I forced myself to finish those last chapters.
The Infinite Moment of Us is written in the popular dual narrative style from the point of view of recent high school graduates Wren Gray and Charlie Parker. Wren is a classic over-achieving people-pleaser, headed for a good college and a future her parents approve of. Except she comes to the realization that pleasing her parents means letting herself down by ignoring her own dreams. She’s also been accepted into an outreach-type program in Guatemala and wants to take a gap year and pursue that rather than start college immediately. The disappointment from her parents about this decision, however, is an overwhelming burden.
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