First, check out yesterday’s guest post at Cocktails & Books about how to avoid the dreaded Second (Middle) Book Syndrome:
Middle books in a trilogy have gotten a bad rap, particularly in YA. They’re often known to be bland filler, simply a bridge between the first and last books in the series, where not much of anything happens and the characters just kind of, well, stagnate, whittling away the hours while they (and the readers…) wait (im)patiently for Book 3 to come along. Welcome to the dreaded Second Book Syndrome. Luckily, this doesn’t have to be the case. Here’s a simple 3-step program for breaking through this debilitating disease and crafting a middle book that shines: 1. Focus on pacing. High tension, high action, high excitement – a solid middle book should always have some stimulating event happening or new information being revealed, and not just once, but continuously, throughout the entire book. In Shudder, I strove to accomplish this using a combination of Alessa and Isaac’s action-packed storyline along with the incorporation of some new points of view. While Isaac and Alessa’s narrative had most of the action, their downtime was always used for world building or character development (see #2 below), and the other POVs brought in chilling new information to provide readers with a fuller sense of the plot and give them something to think about – how this society came about, who certain characters really are, what new revelations might be a lie and which are not. With all of this going on, the reader has plenty to keep their mind occupied and the story moves along at a pleasant clip. <continue reading>
Shudder was definitely worth the wait. Told in alternating chapters, we not only get to hear more about Alessa and Isaac but from a few other surprise characters as well. … The relationship between Alessa and Isaac is a strong one and I was thrilled to finally see real interaction between them out in the real world without the interference of The Engineers. … We also get to know The Engineers and learn a few of their shocking secrets that I just did not see coming, and to top it off we watch as Alessa starts having strange dreams about Joe, her first crush and Isaac’s brother. Even though this seems like quite a bit for Alessa to be dealing with all at once, it didn’t read like it. The author does a fantastic job of incorporating all the different parts of the story without it feeling like information overload. … Overall, Shudder was every bit as amazing as Stitch and I can’t wait to get my hands on book three. It has everything you could want in a story: mystery, action, and a little bit of romance. I can’t recommend it enough. If you enjoyed Stitch, you are going to love Shudder so don’t waste any more time and go out and read it immediately! <continue reading>
Thanks so much to Shannon and Tiffany for hosting!!