I have mentioned Beth Kephart on this blog before, mainly to say that I love her blog (which you must visit) and her books (which you must read) but not much beyond that. Not because I haven't wanted to say more, only because I have tried to understand why I love her books and have found it very difficult.
The experience of reading her young adult books is deeply personal for me.
I know it's not enough to say that the 'why' can not be expressed. It can be. I just haven't tried until today.
When I read her books, I am in them. Truly inside of them. A very safe place to be. These main characters, these girls, I know them, even if their experiences are vastly different than my own.
They are girls who are searching, who are curious, who want to understand and know. They are girls who are on their way to becoming and no matter how old I get I am still that kind of girl, always searching for a better someone to be. I'm always aware of a kind of ache in Kephart's books. Like resting inside of a long sigh. And I know this ache. It is familiar to me.
Her latest book, You Are My Only (due out on October 25th and available for pre-order here) is also a book about a desperate search. Two quests, really. Emmy, a young mother, searching for her lost child. And Sophie, who begins to question her world, seeking the one thing she doesn't know to look for. All of it culminating to a discovery that left me with sweaty palms and a racing heart as I turned each page.
There is color and hope and life in this book. When I imagine it (and I always try to imagine how a book really, truly feels) I think of paint against canvas, technicolor film on a page, every image, feeling, and character bursting, so real and vivid and bright.
As I read, I was let in and out of each scene at just the right moments, enough to feel that I was there, but aware of something just out of reach. And that's the shadow. The contrast. A secret. It is also what keeps Emmy and Sophie restless and yearning. What keeps me reading Kephart's books and writing my own because I, too, am desperate to know what eludes these girls. Girls like me.
I consider a good book a gift. And the way I see it, Beth Kephart has given me many gifts: her blog (a wealth of inspiration, a treasure), her books, and her friendship. And we are all so lucky because she is an amazingly prolific writer, the gift that keeps on giving, if you will, with twelve books out there in the world, two more coming out soon, and more in progress than I would know what to do with. So, in anticipation of the release of You Are My Only (October 25th. I'll wait here for you to put it in your calendar), I want to give the gift of four of her young adult books to you.
All you have to do is comment on this post and I'll randomly draw a winner and you'll have a chance to win four of Beth Kephart's young adult books: Undercover, House of Dance, The Heart Is Not A Size, and Nothing But Ghosts.
So the rules:
Comment on this post before September 13th.
If you blog about this contest you get 2 extra entries: +2
If you tweet about this contest you get an extra entry: +1
If you follow my blog or you become a follower of my blog you get an extra entry: +1
You must add them up and put that in your comment because I don't do math.