Saturday, September 15, 2018

I'm a Fangirl & It's Katie McGarry's Fault

Image result for katie mcgarry

Writing is a form of Art.

The words you paint  and the characters you create should get stuck in the heads of your audience long after they've finished reading them. You should be able to love and relate to the people you meet, both heroes and villains alike. You should be able visualize all the places these characters go, see them so clearly in your mind's eye that it's like your in that place with them, a fly on the wall listening to and watching everything that's going on.  This is true in all forms of Fiction: Adult, Children's, and YA.

I never read YA  growing up.

Actually, I never read REAL YA growing up.  Mystery, History, Realistic, Fantasy, Sci-Fi I'd read all the time. But they were usually things like Sherlock Holmes, Agatha Christie, Terry Brooks, Tolkien, Robert Jordan(one of the FEW series I never finished--I know, I'm working on it) and if I was feeling particularly geeky I'd grab a couple of DragonLance novels. 

And if I couldn't find those, I'd tackle Sammy Keyes, The Boxcar Children, Redwall, the "Little House" books, The Great Brain--you know, strictly Children's or Adult Fiction.  I did branch out a teeny tiny bit in high school, but that was just to read things like Jane Yolen and Robin McKinley.  

But I absolutely refused to visit the YA section of the public library, no matter how desperate I was for something to read. It wasn't until college that I came across S.E. Hinton and promptly devoured every book she wrote(and consequently bought copies of The Outsiders and Tex which I read so much they're in danger of coming apart).
Image result for the outsiders book
I need to get another copy of this soon. The back cover is coming off. 
I never liked Country Music either. 

My dad raised me on 80s Rock and Alternative--Rod Stewart, The Eagles, Sting, The Police, Led Zeppelin--and my mom was all about The Beatles, Enya, and Classical Music. When I got my first Walkman(I know, I'm old) I'd tune it to the radio station that played things like Savage Garden, Matchbox Twenty, Bon Jovi, Smashmouth and 3 Doors Down.

Image result for 3 doors down
These guys were my high school obsession. Country artists? Not so much.  

But I never ever touched the country stations. For some reason I had this insane idea that all songs in that particular genre was full of whiny voices, tinny music, and boring lyrics about tractors and coffee and not much else. 
Image result for john cougar john deere john 3:16 chorus
One of my current favorite songs--sung by Keith Urban. And yes, it's Country
I KNOW!!!!!

You know what changed my mind about both those things? Katie McGarry.

Now, I never would have heard of this author if it wasn't for the job I decided to take about four years ago at the public library. I started in the General Reference and Fiction Department, which meant that I helped with Adult Non-Fiction, Adult Fiction, and Teen Fiction. 

As in: YA. 

Which I knew next to nothing about.

You can't make any YA reading recommendations if you don't know anything about YA.

So what did I do? 

Checked out as many YA novels as would fit into my bag and promptly began reading them--devouring them, actually--so that when a teen came up to ask me for recommendations I could say more than: "duuuuuuuhhhh I dunno".

One of the novels I picked up was by Katie McGarry. I'm not gonna lie, I picked it cause the cover featured a guy that screamed "dark horse"--something that will hook me no matter what, remember?

I read it in a day and a half.

Image result for crash into you katie mcgarry
I had to get the audio version cause I read it so much!

This story was about teens, yes, but it was open and raw and emotional and these people were in real life (albeit some very dark) situations with real life problems. Needless to say, I became totally obsessed. I cared so  much about these characters that it hurt; I laughed with them, cried with them, fell in love with the guys and rooted for the girls. Every single time Katie McGarry announces a new book, I pounce. And if the wait list at the library is too long, I buy the audio version, cause I'm going to read/listen the cover off it. Especially when they all had quotes like this:
Image result for katie mcgarry 

Katie McGarry is also my kind of author in that she listens to music when she writes. She does what I do: create playlists for themes, characters, and significant events in the plot. Being a fangirl, I found the playlists the posted on her website, and then started listening to the songs while I read(and re-read) her books.

You know what genre a lot of those songs were?


Tim McGraw, Keith Urban, Travis Tritt, Rascal Flatts, Florida Georgia Line, aka some of my new favorite artists. You guys, country music can be really good. Yes, there are still some country songs/artists that I'm not a fan of and will never be; but there are some that I adore. Songs that make me smile, or provoke nostalgia, or provide good writing ambiance. Plus, some of those male voices turn me into a great big pot of goo. There are now two country stations that are pre-set in my car radio, in addition to the other music I listen to.
Related image
"Tequila" by Dan + Shay Don't ask me why this song is on my favorites list. It just is.

Katie McGarry is an artist--one of those writers I really want to be when I grow up. She writes openly, honestly, emotionally. Her plots get tangled up and stuck in my head. Her characters are real, multi-dimensional people that I care so much about.

The  biggest things she did, though, was change my mind about some things--like Country Music--and make me think about others: like being vulnerable and open and it's ok to let people in; and it's ok to be scared of life and you are capable of saving yourself when others are unable to.

But that's what Art is supposed to do, isn't it?

Image result for katie mcgarry quote

No comments:

Post a Comment