Nov 9, 2011

the book that started it all.

Over on her blog Beth Revis is holding a contest where people talk about the books they are most thankful for. I've been planning to write this post for a while. I don't know if this is how it works with every writer, but for me, there is a single book I can point back to a "blame" for setting off my desire to write and tell stories of my own. This book, which I am very thankful for, is Ella Enchanted.

I don't remember when I first put my hands on Ella Enchanted. I was young, as in, grade school young. If it's like most of the books I read as a child, then my mother probably picked it up at the library and placed it in my eager hands.
From the very first page I was enamored. Gail Carson Levine creates a very real, very fascinating fantasy world. The main character is cursed by her fairy godmother with the gift of obendience. Anything she is told she must do. The love story and adventure that springs from this is lovely. One that I can read over and over again without getting tired.
After I finally closed the cover, I realized that I wanted more. Unfortunately, Ms. Levine had no sequels in the works for this story. My desire for more pushed me into the idea that I could write my own fairy-tale love story. So I did. The result was a 60 page, thinly-veiled Cinderella-esque love story. It was the beginning of my love affair with writing. I loved Ella's world so much that I decided to create world's of my own. And so I am so, so thankful for this book. It set me on the path that I am today. (Funny that my own novel involves Faery Godmothers and a dashing prince!)

Since that first fateful reading, I've read through Ella Enchanted more times than I can remember. It's binding is bent and it's gone everywhere with me. To college. To South Korea. And back. I know that one day I'll be reading it to my kids. I will keep it until it falls apart, and probably after.

So what books are you all thankful for? I'd love to know! Plus you can enter this awesome contest for so many really good YA books.


  1. OMG. That is the same book that started it all for me, Ryan! I'd already been writing before I read it, but it really inspired me in the fantasy department, which is now what I write almost exclusively. I've read that book to death, and this summer I had the great privilege of meeting Ms. Levine herself. She is a wonderful person, and signed two of my books, including my fragile copy of EE.

  2. The Chrysalids. Because it was the first time I realized you could write sci-fi from a non-technological perspective, you know? It blew my mind. I'm forever thankful for that English teacher who fought to make us read that instead of A Separate Peace.

  3. Rain, that's really neat! I would love to meet Ms. Levine. Some of her later books are really good too (though none of them come close to EE).

    Kathryn, I've never read The Chrysalids. I should look into it! A Separate Peace was incredibly depressing. And I actually read it voluntarily.

  4. Definitely look into The Chrysalids! It's an old book, granted, but absolutely incredible and horrifying! A great dystopian.