Posted in Reading, Writing

Review: Writing Irresistible Kidlit: The Ultimate Guide to Crafting Fiction for Young Adult and Middle Grade Readers

Writing Irresistible Kidlit: The Ultimate Guide to Crafting Fiction for Young Adult and Middle Grade Readers
Writing Irresistible Kidlit: The Ultimate Guide to Crafting Fiction for Young Adult and Middle Grade Readers by Mary Kole
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

If you’ve been within ten feet of me over the past two weeks, then you’ve most likely heard me talk about Writing Irresistible Kidlit. I’m pretty stingy with my five-star ratings, but I cannot say enough good things about this book.

In order to keep myself from rambling, here is what I loved about Mary Kole’s writing guide in bullet form:

* Straightforward, To-the-Point Advice: I love reading books about writing. I’ve read many of the classics like On Writing, Writing Down the Bones, and Bird By Bird and enjoyed them all. But most books about writing craft are at least part memoir. The author’s advice is mixed in with the author’s story. Kidlit isn’t like that. Mary Kole doesn’t take the reader on a journey through her life with books or go on tangents about the beauty of writing and our connected passion as lovers of the written word. She stays focused on the task at hand, and that task is to make the reader a better, more successful writer. She does not sugar coat or soliloquize, and I appreciate that.

* Enjoyable, Easy to Read: Saying that the book is straightforward does not mean that it is dry. The format is logical, and the language and style make it easy to read. Kole is also funny. She’s obviously a fan of puns and peppers the book with them. It’s like she can’t help herself. It cracked me up.

* Great Examples & Quotes: In every section of the book, Kole provides specific examples from literature to back up her points and show authors at their best. The quotes come from over forty different middle grade and young adult novels, most of which were published in 2008 or after. I’ve added SEVERAL titles from her recommended reading list to my to-read page.

* Recent & Relevant: You know that moment when you’re reading a book on writing craft and feeling so inspired and then the author says something like, “Whether you’re writing longhand or using a typewriter…”? That won’t happen when you read this book. At least not for another ten years or so. Kidlit was published in 2012, and Mary Kole is a current lit agent who is (as of July 30, 2014) actively seeking MG and YA manuscripts. The advice she gives is extremely relevant, and there is absolutely no mention of typewriters.

* What, When, Where, Why, and How: This book covers every aspect of writing a good novel, from diagramming your plot to creating a good hook to finding the theme of your work to understanding your reader’s mindset to crafting your query letter. (And a lot more.) And Kole does not just tell us what to do, she also provides a plethora of exercises along the way to help us understand how to do it. Seriously, there is so much useful stuff here. I just flipped through my copy and it’s difficult to find a page where I haven’t highlighted at least one thing.

If the above points aren’t enough to sell you on this book, then try this: The best thing about Writing Irresistible Kidlit is that it not only made me want to write, it made me want to rewrite and revise and outline and start over and keep working until I get it right. And really, isn’t that what a writing book should do?

If you are an author or an aspiring author of stories for children, go get this book. You won’t be disappointed.

View all my reviews

Author:

Carie Juettner is a teacher and writer in Austin, Texas. Her poems and short stories have appeared in publications such as Daily Science Fiction, Nature Futures, The Texas Poetry Calendar, and HelloHorror. She is currently working on a novel for the middle grade audience. Well, CURRENTLY she is drinking a cup of coffee and petting a dog, but she promises to get back to the novel in just a few minutes.

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