Tuesday, August 14, 2018

"Escape from the Badlands"

Carrie Jones is the The New York Times bestseller author of the Need series, Time Stoppers series, Flying series, Girl, Hero, Tips on Having a Gay (ex) Boyfriend, and Love (and other uses for duct tape). She is also the coauthor, with Steve Wedel, of After Obsession and Summer Howl. She also writes picture books about unconventional spies. Her books have been published all around the world, been bestsellers in France, and have received numerous awards.

Jones applied the Page 69 Test to her new middle-grade fantasy novel, Escape from the Badlands (Time Stoppers), and reported the following:
From page 69:
“Don’t say anything,” she said, heading down the hill.

“You didn’t tell me.”

“How could I tell you when it hasn’t happened?” She gasped, tripping on a rock. She stumbled and slowed to a power walk…

"Wait for us,” Eva yelled from the top of the hill.

But Annie didn’t want to wait. She kept walking, arms pumping at her sides. If she walked fast enough maybe she could just get away from the vision, get away from the coldness inside her, get away from he worried that she wouldn’t be able to save the elves.

Bloom caught up again. “Annie… what if that isn’t the past? What if it’s the future?”

Jamie had caught up to them, too, and sneered before Annie could even open her mouth. “It won’t be . We won’t let that happen to Annie. Not ever.”
I love the Page 69 Test so much because it always forces me to look at a random page of my story and see if the theme and plot and emotional through line is being played out. I always sort of hold my breath when I do it because I so badly want it to be representative of those elements of the book.

Without being spoiler-filled, Annie (the ‘she' first referenced) and her friends have just walked through a fog of shame set up as a perimeter trap for other explorers centuries ago. Here, all the children have had to relive their worst shame, but Annie’s shameful moment? She never remembers it happening. And it’s really… It’s not a good thing to see. It implies that she’s in cahoots with the ultimate bad guy of the book.

But what I love about this scene is that her friends are so horrified that she hasn’t told them about this event. And Annie just can’t deal with it - with the shame of what she doesn’t remember happening. And her friends quickly figure out that she wouldn’t hide this from them. That’s not what she’s about or their friendships are about. Instead they realize that they could potentially see something that will happen in the future. Even then though, her friends come to her aid saying that they wouldn’t let that happen, trying to calm her and support her.

And this book? That’s what this book is about. It’s about banding together, about trusting your friends, and about believing in yourself, which are lessons I personally have to teach my own adult self over and over again.
Visit Carrie Jones's website.

Coffee with a Canine: Carrie Jones & Tala.

--Marshal Zeringue