My S book for my alphabet challenge is Sand Runner, Vera Brook’s debut YA dystopian. Now, this was a last-minute addition and it offers a fascinating insight into my read/review process.
I review over on the Paisley Piranha website, with a group of other YA authors. Vera got in touch and asked if I’d like to review her soon-to-be-released Sand Runner, pointing out that maybe it could fill my “S” space (so points for paying attention, definitely). However, my heart sinks a little when I get asked to review pre-order books because one thing I do know is that I’m fussy. The number of books I start and discard is enormous, and the pile of books raved about by other people that have me scratching my head as to what the attraction could possibly be, is equally legion. What I always do is read the preview first to see if the book’s going to suitable – but that’s not possible with pre-release books (and, of course, I don’t want to ask the author for the first couple of chapters because then I’d have to say I didn’t want the rest and – argh! – confrontation!).
So, generally, if a preview isn’t available it’s going to be a no from me. However, Vera had a short story available, Look at Me (follow the link to check it out) so I could read that. It’s entirely excellent: well-written, unsettling, believable and a little bit heart-breaking. After reading that, I had no hesitation in saying yet to a preview copy of Sand Runner.
And it’s equally stunning. I loved it. The dystopian world is close enough to our own to be highly believable, with disturbing elements you could picture coming to pass. Just my cup of tea!
Sand Runner is out on June 2nd, so not long to wait!