I’ve been following Megg Jensen for a while. My first introduction to her writing was Anathema, the first full length book in her Cloud Swarm Trilogy – the first trilogy in her Song of Eloh Saga. It consists of three full length books (Anathema, Oubliette and Severed) and a prequel novella (The Initiate.) This is a fantasy series that is as magical and beautiful as it is dark and intense. It leads into the second part of the Saga, The Swarm Trilogy, which consists of Sleepers, Afterlife and The Sundering. I don’t read a huge amount of contemporary books, especially YA, but when an author I already like comes out with a book in this genre, I have to give it a shot. That’s exactly what made me want to read Shucked. You can check out my full review to see what I thought. I do have to say that even though this isn’t a genre that Megg Jensen has tackled before, she did a great job. It is a funny, sincere and just a really great YA read. So what made her decide to step away from a genre she was obviously comfortable with and take her YA readers in an entirely different direction? So glad you asked!
Why the Switch to YA Contemporary?
The experts always say, “Write what you know.” That’s a tip I’ve largely ignored during my writing career. I mean, really, who wants to read about the things I know? My life is boring! That’s one of the big reasons I’ve always stuck with writing fantasy.
But Tabitha’s story in Shucked is really a reflection of what I know – because I grew up on a farm and went to school in a tiny farming community. I didn’t live with my grandparents or have a globetrotting archaeologist mom, but the flavor and lifestyle in Shucked is 100% authentic. It’s what I know and what I treasure most from my childhood.
In Shucked I wanted to convey the hilarious realities of farm life while mixing in the toughness that comes with growing up in a place where everyone knows everything about everyone else. There’s little privacy, but there is a whole lot of love.
And speaking of love…I wanted to give Tabitha an unusual, unexpected love interest. In the Midwest, you’ll occasionally find adoptees. They stick out because most people in small farming communities are whiter than bleached underwear. It’s not about prejudice, it’s usually just generations of the same families for hundreds of years. There isn’t much movement, or new blood, trickling into these communities.
Alex stands out to Tabitha. As a Korean adoptee, he looks completely different from every other boy in the school. Yet Tabitha, who grew up traveling around the world with her archaeologist mom, is used to guys who are exotic. Seeing him the first day school turns her attitude on its ear. She has a lot of expectations for what school will be like, mainly because her only exposure to American teens has been through reality TV. She finds out fast that while some of her expectations are completely wrong, unfortunately a few are true.
Tabitha has a lot to learn about life, American teens, and, especially, herself. Her layers are stripped away one by one as she learns to trust people. It’s not just because she’s new to attending school or hanging out with teens. Every kid goes through this process in one way or another while in high school. It’s part of the experience. Tabitha just happens to come from a totally different world of experience.
So, now for the fun part! I get to giveaway an ebook copy of Shucked and 3 bookmarks to one lucky winner. All you have to do is leave me a comment along with your email address and you’re entered. That’s it! The Blitz runs until the 13th of May and I’m going to pick my winner on the 14th. The giveaway is open internationally. Good Luck!