Friday, August 19, 2011

"How We Met": Initial Meetings Between Us and Our Favorite Books and Authors

Just like every couple has a “how we met” story, I’m sure that nearly everyone has a story for how they first “met” an influential author or book. You can sometimes tell from a review how the reviewer and the book or author “met”, but some of my favorite “encounters” happened so long ago that my reviews for those books don’t encompass the sweet initial meeting. So, just for fun, here are the stories behind how I “met” some of my favorite authors and books!

Melina Marchetta

I sometimes suspect that I don’t have the best taste in book covers. Faces on covers are so overrated, but the model’s piercing green eyes—how I wished I had eyes like hers!—were what drew me to pick up an otherwise unassuming book on display on the public library’s YA shelf, called Saving Francesca. Talk about being the best find of the year. With unassuming YA contemporary prose, Francesca drew me into her ordinary yet extraordinary fictional world (Will Trombal!). This was back in the day where I’d check out the same book multiple times for delightful rereads, and I found myself doing this with Saving Francesca, before the paperback was released and bought my own copy.

Sarah Dessen

In eighth grade Reading & Writing class, we were assigned a book project where we had to make a brochure for a book we felt would make for a good whole-class read. As the example, my teacher held up the brochure she made for a book I had never heard of before: Dreamland, by Sarah Dessen. Initially I was turned off by the cover (an awkward mishmash of collage-like illustrations) and premise (dating abuse?! How can I relate if I’ve never even been kissed??) but, wanting something new to read, I decided to pick it up at the library and give it a try. The premise still unsettled me, and I was very glad when Sarah’s publisher decided to reissue the book with a new cover, but how fortuitous that, in using Dreamland as the example of the assignment she was giving us, my teacher led me to one of the greatest YA authors of our time.

Megan McCafferty

“Listen to this,” my eleventh-grade creative writing teacher announced in class, shaking the computer printout in her hand. “’Harvard student author accused of plagiarism.” It was the infamous event of 2005, in which She Who Will Not Be Named was found to have plagiarized passages from the books Sloppy Firsts and Second Helpings, by some author named Megan McCafferty. As my teacher read aloud the plagiarized passages alongside the original passages, I thought to myself, “Hah! The original passages are pretty damn funny. Who is this Megan McCafferty person and where can I get me more doses of snarky humor?” and it was off to the library after school for me. Perhaps Jessica Darling and I can say that we became acquainted through dubious connections, but when it’s a relationship this wonderful, who cares how it started, really?


Blog readers, lend me a moment of your time and energy and share with me your favorite “how we met” stories, if you will. Hmm, perhaps I may even turn this into a meme of sorts; who knows?


  1. This is so fun! I "met" Jennifer Echols when her first book Major Crush was in the New YA section in my library. I walked by, saying the fun cover, read it and have been picking up her books everytime a new one comes out every since.

  2. I "met" John Green at a Five Below. His book (Looking For Alaska) was 2 dollars, and my mom was all, "hey, this could be good." So I bought it, though I'd never heard of the book or author.

    Two years later, I randomly picked it up and it's now one of my all-time favorite, and since I've become quite the John Green fangirl.

  3. Very fun idea! I loved reading about how you 'met' some of these favorites. Gosh, Steph, you have the best ideas.

    I may steal this. And attribute it to you, claro. *grin*

  4. Whether you want it to be a meme or not, I think I'm going to do a post like this very soon over on my blog. Is that okay?

  5. Very awesome! It's cool to have met some of your favourite authors serendipitously. I believe I discovered Sarah Dessen just by browsing through Chapters. I was looking for a couple of books to take with me on vacation and they seemed like good ones. I think "This Lullaby" was the first one I read.

  6. I first met Melina Marchetta over a year ago through a fellow grad student's suggested reading list for her lecture. The book she listed was Jellicoe Road. I had just begun the program, so I read the book, having never heard of Marchetta. I can't say it was love at first sight, because I put the book down for a while. It was more like love at second sight. When I went back to it, I couldn't stop reading. I had to read every book she wrote.

  7. oh i really love this idea and so very much enjoyed reading how you met all these books.

    if you make this a meme thingy ~ i will definitely join in. such a great way to talk about fave books/authors (without always having to review the actual book ;)

  8. Love this idea! I 'borrowed' it with a post on my blog, citing your post as the inspiration:

    I think you should definitely make this a regular thing :)


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