Two things make books particularly memorable to me.
1. A great story, and
2. A great way of telling it.
When a book contains both a fabulous story and breakout style, I can’t help but love it. Ann Dee Ellis’ THIS IS WHAT I DID contains these elements and more.
The book’s first scene made me cry. The authors book deals with a serious topic, and handles it perfectly, mixing humor with the perfect touch of tension. Even as readers cry over the main character, Logan, they can’t help sense he’ll be okay in the end.
And he is. But not without a lot of struggle, the kind readers love to experience with him.
Ann Dee Ellis adds a great touch with the lighthearted Laurel, a new friend who sends him palindrome notes. The palindromes are amazing, and I love how each note they write to each other becomes a page illustration.
The other extraordinary feature of this book is how Ann Dee Ellis handles page structure and dialogue. As an example, she uses no quotations when people speak. She manages to use this in a way that’s not only poignant and at times amusing. She also succeeds in making her writing exquisitely clear.
As an example, this is part of the scene where Logan talks about meeting Zyler, his best friend:
Mrs. Frasier assigned us together for the diorama…then Zyler came up to me and said: So what should we do it on?
Me: I don’t know.
Zyler: What about on the Japanese Samurai?
We’ve been best friends ever since.
THIS IS WHAT I DID, p. 39, by Ann Dee Ellis, Little Brown and Company.
Ann Dee also uses this device to demonstrate Logan’s long silences since the Thing that Happened (read the book to find out what ocurred.) His response to a question frequently looks something like this:
This effect is powerful, as is the entire book. I loved reading it.
I get to be in Ann Dee Ellis’ Boot Camp workshop at WIFYR this year, and I’m so excited! I know I will learn so much from her. I’m hoping Ann Dee’s concise, on-the-mark style will help me overcome my extreme wordiness. [If that’s a word.]