Four Book Friday: Rebecca Wells

Welcome back to Four Book Friday, a continuing series where writers and readers tell us about four books that changed their life! This week’s post comes from Rebecca Wells. Rebecca is a bookseller and writer and one of my Simmons girls. Here are the four books that changed her life!

Walk Two MoonsWalk Two Moons by Sharon Creech – If all the books in the world were burning and I could only save one, there is a good chance it would be Walk Two Moons. Is this book perfect in every possible way? No. But it does contain the most perfect depiction of dead-parent grief I have ever read. Salamanca Tree Hiddle’s journey was painfully recognizable to me because I had gone through exactly the same thing. The first time I read Walk Two Moons, my first thought was “How did Sharon Creech know?” (I still don’t have the answer to that question, by the way. Even though I finally met Sharon Creech this year and cried. Twice.) I’ve since read my copy to pieces. The circumstances by which I make my way back to these familiar pages don’t matter — in every encounter, Walk Two Moons makes me feel less alone in the world. And isn’t that what extraordinary books are supposed to do?

Snow White, Blood RedSnow White, Blood Red edited by Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling – Books like this make me infinitely grateful that my father exercised no parental control over my reading habits whatsoever. I was probably eleven or twelve when I picked up Snow White, Blood Red at our local Borders (RIP) and asked my father if I could get it. I have no idea what went through his head when he looked at the (fairly mature) cover, but he bought it for me. Snow White, Blood Red may not have begun my love affair with fairy tales, but it was definitely the first book that hooked its claws into my flesh and refused to let go. The stories in this book aren’t the ones you remember from the Disney movies. They’re darker, bloodier, sexier, and utterly captivating. Snow White, Blood Red opened my eyes to the ways in which familiar tales can be twisted and broken to form new wholes — a lesson in writing that I carry with me to this day. I devoured this book and promptly spent the next several months hunting down the other five titles in the series, even the out-of-print ones. (It speaks to how young I was that this was the first encounter I remember having with the idea of “out of print.” What do you mean, I can’t get every book I want?)
Sabriel (Abhorsen,  #1)Sabriel by Garth Nix – I have a hard time saying anything about Sabriel other than SQUEE. The world is captivating, the story compelling, the characters entrancing. There’s a certain air of different-ness in its pages that I’ve since come to associate with Australian authors. But what really drove me to include Sabriel on this list was the romance. Too often I see young adult titles in which the main characters are together because they’re just perfect for each other, and that’s that. In many ways Sabriel is the anti-typical young adult romance. The relationship that is forged is built on complex characters who each have their own agenda. They both have places to go and demons to banish, and the idea that they may end up together is not the primary motivating force behind their actions. Sabriel taught me that there was no law in young adult mandating its romance be bubble gum perfect — instead, its romance is complex, deep, and never obvious.

The Truth About ForeverThe Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen – …But even though complex is great, sometimes you just feel the need for bubble gum perfect. Sarah Dessen is one of those universally acknowledged Queens of young adult, and for good reason. Sarah Dessen books are familiar, comforting, and identifiable — like a root beer float on a hot summer day, or afternoons spent lazing in a hammock with your best friend. I’ve read most of her work, but the one I return to any time I need a pick-me-up is The Truth About Forever. I completely identified with Macy’s perfectionist-student role, as well as her complicated feelings regarding her father’s death. This book made me want to be Macy, to join a catering company, and to find (and kiss) my very own Wes. I’ve read The Truth About Forever so many times that its spine is now broken, but it never fails to cheer me up and restore some of my faith in the universe.

Rebecca Wells is a California transplant now living on the east coast, where it boggles her mind that it’s possible to cross states in less than a day. She wears many hats, including those of writer, graduate student, and bookseller. You can find some of her other internet musings at http://elephantsontrapezes.blogspot.com, or on Twitter at @rebeccawriting, where she maintains the unpopular opinion that dogs are infinitely superior to cats.

Want more Four Book Friday? Here are more posts in the series:

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4 thoughts on “Four Book Friday: Rebecca Wells

  1. […] Rebecca Wells on Sabriel, Sarah Dessen, Walk Two Moons, and Snow White, Blood Red […]

  2. […] Rebecca Wells “The circumstances by which I make my way back to these familiar pages don’t matter — in every encounter, Walk Two Moons makes me feel less alone in the world. And isn’t that what extraordinary books are supposed to do?” Read more of her thoughts on Walk Two Moons, as well as Snow White, Blood Red, Sabriel, and The Trut… […]

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