If there’s one book format I love, it’s novels-in-verse. They are kinda like the purple nail polish of the book world. So I will pretty much pick one up when I have the chance regardless of the topic, but books-in-verse are like any other books, and there’s always going to be some that don’t work. However I thought I’d share my thoughts on two recent novels in verse I’ve read, both young adult, which are Ghosting by Edith Pattou and Rumble by Ellen Hopkins, and maybe it might inspire you to pick up a novel-in-verse!
Ghosting by Edith Pattou*: I randomly stumbled across Ghosting and I wasn’t quite sure what to expect in this young adult novel about a teenage prank gone wrong and the consequences that follow, but it was in verse, so I decided to read it. There are a lot of points-of-view in Ghosting, probably more than any other book I’ve read (at least seven) and as a result it took me awhile to get situated in the story and figure out/remember who everyone was. It also took quite awhile for the prank/tragedy to even happen, and I felt like the suspense was just being drawn out too long despite the fact that verse is usually a quick-paced format. In contrast, the recovery afterwards was really rushed. Pattou does a great job bringing together a lot of different characters and showing how a tragedy can connect so many people, but I think there were too many voices and the pacing of the story wasn’t didn’t work for me.
Rumble by Ellen Hopkins*: Easily a favourite author of mine, Hopkins is who a lot of people think of if they have heard about novels-in-verse, and her books always tackle tough issues without flinching. In Rumble, the narrator is 18-year-old Matthew, a boy whose life is in a pretty bad place after his brother’s suicide and whose brightest light is his girlfriend, Hayden. The only problem is that they disagree when it comes to religion as Matthew doesn’t believe in God. This is an extremely emotional novel, and I think it does a really good job tackling some important issues like bullying, as Matthew moves towards the realization that everyone can do something to stop it, including himself. My biggest issue with Rumble was the ending, which felt way too rushed and sudden and basically out of nowhere, and I also felt like it could be too hard on religion at times, although I realize that came from Matthew’s bitter perspective. Overall, Rumble was a fairly strong offering from Hopkins and I will continue to reach for her books in the future.
Have you ever read a novel-in-verse? If you have any recommendations, definitely let me know!