Monday, June 8, 2020

"Sara and the Search for Normal"

Wesley King is the author of the Edgar Award–winning OCDaniel, which Booklist praised as “complex and satisfying” in a starred review. It was also named a Bank Street Best Book of the Year and received Canada’s Silver Birch Award. King’s first middle grade novel, The Incredible Space Raiders from Space!, was called “a well-drafted coming-of-age story” by Publishers Weekly. He is also the author of The Vindico and its sequel, The Feros, which were both Junior Library Guild selections, and Kobe Bryant’s New York Times bestselling Wizenard series.

King applied the Page 69 Test to his new novel, Sara and the Search for Normal, and reported the following:
This is an interesting concept... and in this case, quite indicative! Page 69 of Sara and the Search for Normal details a conversation between Sara and her best friend, Erin, the core external relationship in the book, and even hints at the central conflict between them. It starts with this revealing exchange:
"I never had any friends."

She looked at me. "Ever."

I shook my head. I could feel my cheeks getting warm.

"Well, you got one now," she said. "And you're stuck with her."
From here, it hints at the book's mysterious core (the bruises covering Erin) and the trouble that come of it.

The test works quite well here...I would say it isn't the ideal page, but certainly a well placed-one to hint at one of the central plot arcs. This is fascinating because it has me thinking about each page as an introduction or 'elevator pitch' of the novel, as opposed to simply the first one where authors notoriously expel a lot of energy. This book is very much about relationships, and specifically the one with ourselves versus the ones with others, how they interact and shape each other, and how we prioritize them. On page 69, we see the forming of an external relationship and the possible reason for its dissolution, so I think that's a pretty telling excerpt.
Visit Wesley King's website.

Q&A with Wesley King.

My Book, The Movie: Sara and the Search for Normal.

--Marshal Zeringue