*I’ve titled these under January instead of February in reference to the novels’ release dates, as it’s easiest to get a full round-up of the latest books at the end of every month.
After the Fall
It’s entirely possible Matt can see up my shorts.
Author: Kate Hart
Publisher: Farrar, Straus, & Giroux (Macmillan)
Published: January 24, 2017
For People Who Liked: Louise O’Neill’s Asking For It, The Girl on the Train
Target Audience: Readers who like gritty plots addressing rumours, sexuality, and sexual assault.
If I were an agent/acquisitions editor, would I select this for publication based on the opening chapter?:
Based on that opening sentence (quoted above) alone, I personally wouldn’t. I can tell Hart is already trying to set a specific tone to make a point, but it’s more likely to chase me off than reel me in. Within the first chapter, there’s clearly something going on involving a love triangle, and none of these characters are particularly engaging or likeable, so I can’t say why I should be interested…
From what I know of the plot based on the synopsis, the story’s supposed to focus around a specific discourse addressing serious issues in terms of sexist double standards teen girls face, but whether she addresses it well remains to be seen. If you want something bold and hard-hitting in terms of social justice writing in the name of sexist double standards, try Asking for It by Louise O’Neill instead.
Some children are just born bad, plain and simple. These are the children that don’t live up to the statistics. One cannot blame their surroundings or upbringings for their behaviour. It’s not a scientifically proven inheritable trait. These children are sociological phenomena.
Author: Tiffany D. Jackson
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books (HarperCollins Children’s)
Published: January 24, 2017
For People Who Liked: Girl, Interrupted; Orange is the New Black, Gone Girl
Target Audience: Readers looking for diverse characters, particularly women and girls of colour. For people wanting to raise awareness of racism within the American justice system in the media, people who like mysteries, or Law and Order procedural-type plots.
Would I select this for publication based on the opening chapter?:
I don’t know if it’s immediately obvious that this is going to be a gripping story from the first pages, but the strong synopsis says so much about where the plot is going to go it’s hard not to at least be curious. For those unaware, the story follows a young black girl thrown into the criminal system as a child for murdering a white baby left in her care. That’s the exact sort of twist that makes me sit up and take notice.
Tiffany D. Jackson is a woman of colour writing about the POC experience of racism in modern America, so I think it’s safe to trust that she’s going to speak accurately toward this particular discourse. With this in mind, I’m going to assume the dialogue is language she’s familiar with and not simply stereotyping. As a white girl, I honestly have no frame of reference to tell me one way or the other, and I feel as though it’s not my place to judge. Regardless, by the first chapter, I was hooked and the first 20 pages breezed by without my notice.
I’ve heard rave reviews about this one and nothing but good things all around, so I would definitely recommend!