Friday, October 26, 2012

Highlighting Neal Shusterman

I wanted to share with you today one of my favorite authors - Neal Shusterman. I heart Neal Shusterman. I would make a t-shirt for him.

But there is a focus besides me just rambling that I like him.

Neal Shusterman has a wonderful talent when it comes to writing. He takes multiple points-of-view (I think Unwholly he had like six). I had to pay attention to each one and keep track of them. I knew from my expereince with Shusterman that if I didn't, I would regret it.

Why you ask?

Easy, at the end of each novel that I have read by him, he always converges all of the points-of-view for one final moment - a big a-ha! It's like that phrase "All roads lead to Rome." In this moment, each POV's small details become important. Each action, conversation, thought has a driving purpose. He is not wasteful with his words. I think this is something I have worked on since reading Everlost. I have worked to make sure my conversations lead to the development of my characters, my actions lead up to a climax, my descriptions paint a picture worth seeing.

If you are looking for a writer with a wonderful craft I suggest Shusterman. Here are two of my favorite books by him.

The Second Civil War was fought over reproductive rights. The chilling resolution: Life is inviolable from the moment of conception until age thirteen. Between the ages of thirteen and eighteen, however, parents can have their child "unwound," whereby all of the child's organs are transplanted into different donors, so life doesn't technically end. Connor is too difficult for his parents to control. Risa, a ward of the state is not enough to be kept alive. And Lev is a tithe, a child conceived and raised to be unwound. Together, they may have a chance to escape and to survive.

Nick and Allie don't survive the car accident...

...but their souls don't exactly get where they're supposed to get either. Instead, they're caught halfway between life and death, in a sort of limbo known as Everlost: a shadow of the living world, filled with all the things and places that no onger exist. It's a magical, yet dangerous place where bands of lost children run wild and anyone who stands in the same place too long sinks to the center of the Earth.

When they find Mary, the self-proclaimed queen of lost kids, Nick feels like he he's found a home, but allie isn't satisfied spending eternity between worlds. Against all warnings, Allie begins learning the "Criminal Art" of haunting, and ventures into dangerous territory, where a monster called the McGill threatens all the souls of Everlost.

In this imaginative novel, Neal Shusterman explores questions of life, death, and what just might lie in between.

What's your favorite Neal Shusterman? What do you think about his craft? Something I missed that I should have included?


  1. This is Michelle from The Twins Read, and my favorite would be Unwind (although this would be because I've never tried the others yet, save for Bruiser). When I finished Unwind, it just felt like my mind was shattered, and I knew that nothing could ever come close to Unwind. It was utterly brilliant, and I just wanted to shove the book into people's face. It would suck though if some neophyte reader started saying something like, "Ermergerd, it's totally, like The Hunger Games." Uh no. Just... no. Please.

  2. Your last comment about him being like other writer and "uh no. Just... no. Please" a. made me laugh out loud and b. i whole heartedly agree. He's in a class by himself. I'm always happy when I find another Shusterman fan. :) PS I wrote the post - in case you were wondering.