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free verse novels

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Caroline

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I've read these so far. Loved Grover and Sones' stuff.

Lorie Ann Grover - Loose Threads
Sonya Sones - What my Mother Doesn't Know / Stop Pretending
Virginia Wolff - Make Lemonade / True Believer
Robert Cormier - Frenchtown Summer
Sharon Creech - Love that Dog

Anyone got any other recommended free verse novels?
#1 - March 08, 2004, 05:16 AM

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Here's a few more, Caroline.
Enjoy!
Andi



Catherine Bateson - A Dangerous Girl / The Year It All Happened
Marlene Carvell - Who Will Tell my Brother
Eirean Corrigan - You Remind me of You: A Poetry Memoir
Terri Fields - After the Death of Anna Gonzales
Helen Frost - Keesha's House
Mel Glenn - Taking of Room 114 / Foreign Exchange: A Mystery in Poems / Jump Ball: A Basketball Season in Poems / Split Image: A Story in Poems / Who Killed Mr. Chippendale?: A Mystery in Poems
Nikki Grimes - Bronx Masquerade

Juan Felipe Herrera- Crashboomlove: A Novel in Verse
Karen Hesse - Out of the Dust / Witness / Aleutian Sparrow
Paul Janeczko - Stardust Otel
Ron Koertge - Shakespeare Bats Clean-up/ Brimstone Journals
Joanne Rocklin - For Your Eyes Only
 
Ann Warren Turner - Learning to Swim: A Memoir
April Halprin Wayland - Girl Coming In For a Landing
Margaret Wild - Jinx / One Night
Vera B. Williams - Amer Was Brave, Essie Was Smart
Janet S. Wong - Behind the Wheel: Poems About Driving, Minn and Jake
Jacqueline Woodson - Locomotion

Haven't read this one yet:
The Way A Door Closes --Hope Anita Smith


#2 - March 08, 2004, 06:02 AM
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I've read,

Sonya Sones - What my mother doesn't know/ Stop pretending
Virginia Wolff - Make Lemonade and True Believer(there is supposed to be a third in that series)
Karen Hesse - Out of the Dust
Sharon Creech - Love that Dog (this is a mg though)
Robert Cormier - Frenchtown Summer (although I don't remember that being freeverse - it probably was)
A few Young adult poetry novels done by YA themselves.

My YA Another Kid's Shoes (Harper Collins - pub. date TBA) is also freeverse.  


Alma
#3 - March 08, 2004, 06:20 AM
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Alma,

I'm a huge freeverse fan. Would you mind sharing what your novel is about? Congratulations on the sale --a tremendous accomplishment indeed~ Thanks.
Andi
#4 - March 08, 2004, 06:27 AM
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Caroline

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Wow! Thanks for the list Andi. I gotta get to the library!

Alma, I think Cormier's book was free verse (am I spelling it wrong? Is it one word?)  but I could be wrong too. I just remember not liking it, and it was on a list of recommended books I copied down one time everyone was chatting about free verse novels.

So Alma, I didn't realize your upcoming novel was in verse. That is so cool! You are like our resident expert! So if you don't mind a little brain-picking, how did you refine the craft? Just reading other similar novels? Was that the one you subbed to acquire your agent? Got any tips for beginners like me who don't even know how to spell phrea-vurs ? ::)
#5 - March 08, 2004, 11:01 AM

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Andi,
The novel a 16 year old boy's journal (in freeverse). He's forced to write a journal by a shrink as he tries to come to terms with his mother's attempted suicide. It's definitly not a book for everyone.
Caroline, I don't think I ever or will ever 'refine' the craft.  I read a lot. I think that helps. I also listen to the flow of the words to see where the breaks should go.
Some of the poems have a lot of imagery, some are more like journal entries. It really depended on the mood of the character.

Mostly, I just wrote the story the way the character told me too. It's what I do with all my books. They just come out the way they do. I tried working this book into a regular novel but it wouldn't fit into that style no matter how hard I tried. The mc wanted to tell the story in verse. I know that probably sounds weird but it's just the way it happens with me.

Alma
#6 - March 08, 2004, 06:21 PM
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Alma,

It doesn't sound weird at all to me. I think freeverse is so powerful because it condenses emotion to the bare bones. Add intriguing characters with a unique, yet universal story to tell and you have a potent tale. Thanks so much for telling us about your up-coming novel. I look forward to adding it to my collection when it comes out !

Andi
#7 - March 08, 2004, 07:04 PM
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KimS

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Alma - how wonderful that you can now call your 'manuscript' your 'up-coming novel'!!!

I didn't know yours was in free-verse either. I LOVE that style, very stream-of-consiousness type reading.
I found 'Jinx', by Margaret Wild, hugely emotional, and I'm sure it couldn't have been written any other way either. The style added to the impact.
I'll look forward to yours!
#8 - March 08, 2004, 07:33 PM

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I just finished SOUL MOON SOUP by Lindsey Lee Johnson. It's a novel made up of about 58 freeverse poems that tell the story of 12 year-old Phoebe Rose, an artistic homeless girl, and her mother. It's has everything a good FV novel should ~ strong poetry and most importantly interesting characters that grow and change throughout a compelling story.
A good read! :reading2:

Andi W.
#9 - March 28, 2004, 05:33 AM
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Charis

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Wow, first time posting and I think I have SOS (smiley overload syndrome)! Too many cute options!

I enjoy writing free verse and am always in search of new novels in verse to read. Has anyone read Sharon Creech's newest, HEARTBEAT? I read about half in B & N yesterday. I always enjoy her way with language but I do wonder if kids will actually be able to get into HEARTBEAT. It's about a 12 year old girl and her family (mom's pregnant with second child and grandfather is living with them) and her friend Max. Basically, nothing "unique" at all and not much in terms of plot and movement. Many pages describing her and Max running, like how the ground feels under her feet, the trees, the red bench in the park, etc. I appreciate Creech's style, but her last couple of books haven't drawn me in like THE WANDERER and RUBY HOLLER did.

Okay, it's time to  :books: and  :writing:!
#10 - March 31, 2004, 06:27 AM

Charis

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Thanks, Els! Now if I could just figure out how to make the font color and stuff come out instead of just the embarrassing font=verdana, etc.   :eek5:

But in honor of my WIP, I'm adopting the  :balloongroup: symbol. Thanks, Verla (and Douglas). It feels like that one was made just for me!
#11 - March 31, 2004, 01:54 PM

Kimberly

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There's an article on novels in verse in the new issue online at Smart Writer's Journal.
#12 - April 01, 2004, 11:39 AM

saphillips

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I found a really fun and interesting free verse novel on the web. It is "The Criminal Life of Effie O" by Sam Savage with illustrations by Virginia Beverley. It is the story of of a young suburban girl who runs away to the city to become a graffiti artist. It is sometimes very funny and sometimes very sad. It is quite iconoclastic. You can read the whole thing online at www.artrebel.info
#13 - April 12, 2004, 01:57 PM

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Sonya Sones's latest ONE OF THOSE HIDEOUS BOOKS WHERE THE MOTHER DIES is a wonderful read if you liked WHAT MY MOTHER DOESN'T KNOW. I think she's is amazing at weaving the story into the tempo of the poems. Very contemporary. She's very in tune with the teenage mind. Though, of all her work I loved STOP PRETENDING best of all, maybe because it's not as comercial as the others.

Andi
#14 - May 31, 2004, 05:33 AM
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Sami

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Sorry I'm a little late in posting, but ESCAPING TORNADO SEASON by Julie Williams (released in March) is really great.  She's also a wonderful writing teacher (Los Angeles area)

sami
#15 - July 24, 2004, 07:23 PM

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Just finished ON POINTE by Lori Ann Grover. I'm beginning to think that story takes first place over the quality of the poetry for the novels in verse I've read --with the exception of Creech's and Sones's whose work as a whole is first class in EVERY way. But the story here was pretty thin for me --except fot the last 40 pages with the introduction of Mabel --a fiesty character who injects a colorful spark of life into the lives of the other characters. Wish she could have entered the story earlier. In this book, the poems merge --no separate titles, and few if any of them are strong enough to stand alone IMHO. Interesting and confusing since I've been thinking that each poem must be strong enough to stand on its own.

Andi
#16 - August 22, 2004, 07:41 AM
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Charis

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Andi, I was wondering what you meant by you thought that story takes first place over the quality of the poetry for the novels in verse you've read. Do you mean you've mostly read free verse novels in which the story takes precedent over the poetry quality? Personally, to me many I've read seem to be rather weak on story/plot (i.e. Cormier's FRENCHTOWN SUMMER really didn't have a plot arc at all) which disappoints me and I keep that letdown very firmly in my mind as I work on my own n-i-v. In my mind, if the poetry isn't servng "story," then it isn't really a novel in verse. Also, when you say you thought each poem must be strong enough to stand on its own, do you mean self contained so as to be almost like a poetry collection rather than following the narrative arc of a novel?
#17 - August 22, 2004, 01:09 PM

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Hi Charis,

I think in today's FVN, the story needs to be just as strong if not stronger than the poetry. I used to think the poetry was more important, otherwise --as you said, why write the story in verse in the first place. But I'm thinking of more recently written books as in Bronx Masquerade, Who will tell My Brother, Soul Moon Soup, One of Those Hideous Books Where the Mother Dies, Out of the Dust, Witness...I used to get so wrapped up in the words, but the story IS the book. As for each poem standing on their own, I think that each should have something plot moving to say, be it adding depth, or color to the characters or moving the story forward --maybe even both. I think even out context, each poem should have strength on it's own. Hope I've made my point a little clearer ;-) 

Andi
#18 - August 22, 2004, 04:33 PM
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Andi wrote -I used to think the poetry was more important, otherwise --as you said, why write the story in verse in the first place.

Because when writing in verse you only have to write 1/3 the amount of words. :x

Seriously though, I feel the story is just as important as the poetry. Yes, your poetry has to be strong but each poem (each word even) is carefully chosen and they must move the story forward. Both the poems and the story have to work together, equally strong, or you won't sell a novel in freeverse.

Just my opinion.

Alma Fullerton
#19 - August 23, 2004, 06:01 PM
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Charis

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Yup, I agree, Alma, and it's that challenge of keeping a n-i-v moving and changing with interesting characters and plot developments, as well as description, that makes it a fun form for me. My sister (also a writer) gave me a great compliment the other day. As she was reading my upper midgrade n-i-v, besides laughing her head off at places, she jabbed her finger at a line and said, "OH! that is SUCH a middle school thing to say!" Music to my ears.
#20 - August 24, 2004, 07:45 AM

Maggie

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Hi Everyone,

I'm a guest here; this site popped up in Google when I searched for free verse novels. I'm thinking about writing my thesis (I'm an undergrad English major/Creative Writing minor at Bryn Mawr College) about free verse novels. I'm at the very preliminary stage of thinking about it, but right now I'm mostly wondering: I've read several really excellent J/YA free verse books in recent years, but I haven't heard of any adult ones. Out of the books that you've been discussing here, how many of them are marketed as adult books? And does anyone have any articles or lit crit about free verse as a genre that they could point me towards?

Thanks so much!

Maggie
#21 - September 23, 2004, 10:21 AM

Gateboy

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hey im a guest but soon to be member, i love people who can epriciate good literature. at my school most are gang bullys and punks, they find reading for nerds, which i say is :x stupid.no one there likes poetry and even though im a guy i love poetry. my favorite author is SHARON CREECH cause i cant stay away from romance books. o and to reply number nine i think it may be because u like romance since ruby holler and wanderer were trouble novels were the main characters get in danger of some kind, like life threatening. :love

 ^-^gateboy

#22 - January 13, 2005, 05:59 PM

gateboy

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im now a member and i love books so plz reply.
#23 - January 13, 2005, 06:37 PM

Jaina

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Hi, Gateboy, and welcome to the site!  I'm one of the administrators here, so I took the liberty of changing your profile slightly.  I'll send you a private message about it.

Glad you have the courage to like reading and poetry, even if it's unpopular with the other kids.  I heard Sharon Creech speak last summer and she seemed like a really nice, down-to-earth person.  I bet she'd be happy to know she has a good fan in you!

#24 - January 13, 2005, 07:41 PM

gateboy

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well ty im not the most popular but who cares what jerks think about you, as long as you have friends. wow thats great i wish i could meet her, shes amazing.
#25 - January 14, 2005, 03:54 PM

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