Congratulations to Lacy, Caroline and Kellie! Each of you has won a copy of The Monster’s Daughter.
Thanks to everyone who entered and/or shared the contest! ♥
A couple of months ago, a friend sent a short list of recommended YA reads. On this list was A Brief History of Montmaray, with the note: “I don’t normally go in for princesses but this one is pretty awesome.” I’ve never been interested in princesses, either, so the note piqued my curiosity. What would make a princess interesting to me?
A Brief History of Montmaray, apparently!
Sophia, whose journal entries comprise this brief history, is one of several princesses of the island of Montmaray. The eldest princess, Sophia’s cousin Veronica, is daughter of the current–not-quite-sane–King John. Sophia’s sister is the youngest princess (who’d rather be a prince, thank you very much); her brother, the prince, is away studying in England. As the number of villagers grows increasingly sparse, the girls must manage the castle virtually on their own.
Even before Nazi-related trials and tribulations enter the story, it’s a captivating tale of survival, humor and grace. The girls matter-of-factly face a unique set of circumstances that, to them, are simply ordinary life. Each girl is so vibrantly portrayed and so realistic, I felt increasingly as I turned the pages they were good friends I’ve known my whole life. Part of this might be a testament to how deeply I relate to their circumstances, given that I was one of four siblings who survived childhood despite poverty, isolation and a parental figure whose mental illness made her more of a parental figurehead than a parent in some regards. Mostly, though, I think it’s Michelle Cooper’s compassionate, loving, poignant depiction of each of the girls and all the other characters of this stunning novel.
When everything goes awry even by the girls’ standards, the book becomes impossible to set down. (It was merely “extremely difficult” before.) I plowed through the last 100 pages this morning before my son awakened. I rejoiced at the book’s beautiful conclusion, which so comforts me given how it mirrors my own life questions at the moment, and also at the fact there are more Montmaray books waiting to be devoured by me. If only I’d checked them out preemptively!
If you don’t enjoy princess tales, you might nevertheless enjoy this princess tale, and the fiercely independent, precocious princesses who make it such a beautiful, delightful tale of survival.
Fewer than three days remain till I give away three copies of The Monster’s Daughter! Many folks have linked to the contest, but few have emailed me letting me know they did so. Remember, the email serves as your entry form!
If you have emailed me? Odds of your winning a book are pretty favorable right now!
In other news, Mack has provided a new cover for A Season in Korea:
On February 28, 2011, I’ll give away three copies of The Monster’s Daughter. If you live in the United States and would like a shot at winning one of these three copies, do one of the following prior to 12:00 AM Pacific Time February 28, 2011:
1. Send me an email* with the subject: “Free books FTW!”
2. Tweet about this giveaway, mentioning @deb_bryan, and send me an email* with the subject: “I tweeted it!”
3. Share this link on your blog and send me an email* with the subject: “I blogged it!”
4. Share this link on Facebook and send me an email* with the subject: “I pimped it on Facebook!”
If you’d like more than one shot at winning, do more than one of the following! You’ll be entered for each of the above actions you take.
Winners will be announced by first name on or shortly after February 28, 2011.
* 100% no-nefarious-usage-of-your-private-info guarantee! Your email address–and any other contact info you provide–will be used strictly for purposes of this giveaway. Once winners are announced, I’ll email each winner to coordinate shipment. Afterward, all private info will be deleted and/or otherwise destroyed. Preferably not by devouring.
My friend Sarah, a YA aficionado, read several drafts of The Monster’s Daughter. In her earlier reviews, she often called on characters like her hypothetical 16-year-old “Miss Sassypants” to help me evaluate potential problems with portions of the story. For example, she might say something like, “This is interesting, but I fear Miss Sassypants might look at this and say, ‘Oh, but on page 63, you said this, SO WHICH IS IT?!’” Sarah’s Miss Sassypants caused me many headaches at the time, but I remain greatly indebted to her. Without her, who knows what flaws would have remained overlooked by yours truly?
This morning, a couple years removed from critiques by Miss Sassypants, I delighted to read Sarah’s Amazon review of The Monster’s Daughter. The review might or might not have included this comment: “Our heroine Ginny, who’s a lot more Buffy than Bella, knows that vampires kill. They don’t sparkle.”
Thus it is that when I said, “I delighted to read,” I actually meant, “I giggled several times while desperately trying to reign in elation.” Thanks to the hypothetical Miss Sassypants, and the very much un-hypothetical Sarah, The Monster’s Daughter—while no War & Peace—is a much better read now than it was three years ago.