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Author Spotlight, Librarian's Choice, Rachel

Author spotlight: Jaclyn Moriarty

05.08.14 | Comment?

Jaclyn Moriarty is awesome. She is highly endorsed by Grimm (here and here) and let me tell you, Grimm’s in-person enthusiasm about Jaclyn is very infectious!

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsI first read Feeling Sorry For Celia and Finding Cassie Crazy (of which we have the eBook only) a few years ago and absolutely loved them. They are both from Jaclyn’s Ashbury/Brookfield “series” although the books are more like companion novels than a series. That series also includes The Betrayal of Bindy Mackenzie and The Ghosts of Ashbury High. These books revolve around a number of students who attend either the exclusive and private Ashbury High or Brookfield High, the local public school. Each book has characters that cross over to the other novels, but each one is a separate story to the others. All four books are told in epistolary style, which means they are written as a series of documents, such as diary entries, emails, exam papers, notes etc.

More recently I read the first two books in Jaclyn’s Colours of Madeleine trilogy (although you will find it under colors, not colours). These books are written in Jaclyn’s trademark style, often subverting “facts” that you thought you knew and revealing that events or ideas that seemed incidental at the time are in fact central plot points. They also use epistolary elements to tell the story although these are lesser, and the narrative swaps between two main characters in each chapter. This series also marks a shift into fantasy writing, and it suits Jaclyn’s writing style very well.

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsIn A Corner of White, fifteen-year-old Elliot Baranski lives in Bonfire, The Farms in the Kingdom of Cello. Here, seasons roam as they please and bells warn citizens of dangerous colour attacks. Madeleine Tully lives in Cambridge, England in The World, our world, and lives by the laws of Isaac Newton. They live apart in their own worlds, unaware even of the existence of other worlds until one day they discover a connection. Just a crack, enough for a letter to get through. Elliot and Madeleine begin to write to each other through the crack between their worlds. Elliot writes to Madeleine about his missing father who was taken in an attack by a rogue purple which also killed his uncle, about the deftball final he’s about to compete in, and about the Butterfly Child he rescued from a glass jar. At first Madeleine doesn’t believe Elliot is even real, but she still writes to him about her own absent father, about how she misses the life of luxury she used to live and about the laws of Isaac Newton.

A Corner of White contains a lot of world-building elements with a building mystery behind it all. The second book, The Cracks in the Kingdom dives straight into the adventure having already set up the world in which it all takes place.

It may sound like a lot to take in, but Jaclyn’s writing takes you under its wing and makes you comfortable. She never over-explains, she will always let you come to your own conclusions. For example she never actually describes what the attacking colours look like, only their effects. Giving the reader so much input is part of what makes her writing so effective and powerful.

We have most of Jaclyn’s books available as eBooks as well as in print. She has also written I Have A Bed Made of Buttermilk Pancakes and The Spellbook of Listen Taylor (only available as eBooks), a rewritten adaptation of the former. Lots of Jaclyn’s books have been published under alternate titles, so you may need to check which is which if you come across an unfamiliar title. I hope you have fun exploring the worlds of Jaclyn Moriarty!


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