March Celebrating Women Authors Part 3 - Libba Bray
I don’t have words for how much I truly enjoy Libba Bray! Her YA novels are true to a youthful voice, the concepts covered complex and relatable, and gosh can she make me laugh. Her commentary is as good as her fiction. I thoroughly enjoy reading her acknowledgments and author’s notes as much as the novels they are attached to.
If she is not in your library go and add her to your TBR right now! You won’t regret it.
Libba Bray is the New York Times bestselling author of The Gemma Doyle trilogy; the Michael L. Printz Award-winning Going Bovine; Beauty Queens, an L.A. Times Book Prize finalist; and The Diviners series.
She is originally from Texas but now lives and writes in New York. The final book in her Diviners series, The King of Crows, was released in 2020. According to her Twitter Feed (Hell Yeah I follow her), she is currently working on her next novel.
I was drawn to Libba Bray from the dust jacket (aka the cover) of The Diviners. It was creepy and cool and I could not wait to get it home from the library to devour it. But time restraints on a single mom working two full-time jobs has very little time to read unless, of course, she gives up sleeping.
Thank the Goddess, it was on audiobook! I made it to and from work driving through 1920’s New York tracking a vicious ghostly serial killer with Evie O’Neill.
By the end, I was so hooked. One night, I got in the driveway late and was only going to listen for a few minutes more before entering the chaos of a house with three adolescent boys still not in bed on a school night. A few minutes turned into the next chapter, which was just two chapters from the end of that disc (this was before I had Audible). At roughly 3 AM, I woke up because I got cold. I had one leg out the open car door, the car almost on E, and my blaring speakers reading the rest of my neighborhood the fourth disc of The Diviners. It had started over after I fell asleep listening to the chapter I wanted to hear the end of before going inside. Before you worry I live in a pretty safe neighborhood. Still, I am surprised not one of my neighbors called in a noise complaint.
Needless to say, waiting for the second book in the series to come out, was torture!
It did give me a chance to read her other works which at the time were not available on audiobooks in my public library.
The Gemma Doyle Trilogy made me feel all the same excited, creeped-out feelings that The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett that I read in 5th or 6th grade (enchanting years of required reading not to be repeated until I hit college).
I learned about showing not telling in a whole new way from Bray's magical tale of female empowerment, friendships, and the things that creep you out in the countryside.
Next came my favorite book to read the first chapter out loud, Going Bovine. From the first sentence, you would swear that a 16-year-old boy really was telling you this story. The VOICE is so good!
By the time I learned about the importance of character voice and the way to use detail as well as vagueness to create mood, tone, and tension, The Diviners Series was back in full swing with the next books coming out every other year or so.
The third and final additions to the series had me so enthralled with the cast of characters and Bray’s narrative social commentary of the price paid by so many for the America we have today, that often I wept in my car before going into work.
Bray’s works are thought-provoking, deliciously detailed, and emotionally stirring. Beauty Queens is on my TBR for this year and I cannot wait to get to it!
Libba Bray’s author bio on her website is well worth the read and I could not possibly summarize it here for you in a more entertaining way. You can find it and more on her website at https://libbabray.com/.
Links* to where you can purchase her works on Amazon are provided by clicking on the highlighted titles in this post.