In a short blurb? We talk books.
Hachette Book Group is in the process of redesigning the covers for all of Lois Duncan’s YA thriller novels, as PW announced last year. First were the famous ones: I Know What You Did Last Summer, Killing Mr. Griffin, and Don’t Look Behind You in the fall of last year, and this Spring launched the three above, among which is my absolute favorite: Stranger with My Face. Finding this out made my heart flutter like I just found out that the guy I crushed on all throughout grade school is going to the party Saturday night. A little nervous, definitely excited, overwhelmed by nostalgia, and eager to reconnect to someone who was such a big part of the you that barely creeps through your business suits and dinner dates these days.
Why am I nervous? Well, Lois Duncan was my idol. I read EVERY one of her thrillers, a few of her other fiction books, and even one of her non-fiction books, a heart-wrenching tale of her daughter’s murder. She was one of the reasons I became such a voracious reader, and the main reason why I attempted to be a paranormal fiction writer in the 6th grade (with help from Charmed). I read Stranger with My Face so many times that I knew verbatim the first and last pages of the book, and quoted my favorite excerpts off to people like they were ancient Chinese wisdom. But I haven’t read it in… well, nearly a decade. What if it doesn’t feel the same? What if four years as a literature major and three years in publishing has turned me into such a critic that my idol will be totally deconstructed by page five? There are only a handful of authors that I feel this sense of awe and respect for: Lois Duncan, Ray Bradbury, and, most recently, Sara Gruen (Water for Elephants review to come). And if dear friend Lois drops off that list, well… in a strange way, I’ll be devastated. Like finding out that Santa Claus isn’t real. On Christmas morning.
And on top of that, Lois Duncan modernized the stories for these new editions, hoping to connect to a new group of young readers. Good intentions, of course, but modernization doesn’t always end well.
I will read eventually. And when I do, hopefully this new face won’t make my old friend seem like a stranger.