Thursday, November 17, 2011

Stellar

 

To say I was happy to see a star next to the very first review for Blythe Woolston’s sophomore novel, Catch & Release, is an understatement. It’s always goose-bump inducing when a reviewer’s enthusiasm matches my own:

“…. This is not a romance, but a tale of two people thrown together after their world has been turned upside down. Each is unique, vividly complicated and true. Engaging writing and characters lift this above the typical clichéd story of disabled teen. Heartbreakingly honest.”
-Kirkus

This is not an easy novel. As a parent and a mild hypochondriac, the text itself was a little terrifying to read. But as an editor and the one who writes the first draft of the flap copy, summarizing this book was enormously challenging. A first draft of flap began this way:

“Survival is a funny thing. Take Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus—MRSA to its friends. Humans hurl antibiotics by gallon at Staphylococcus. But a few survive—the strong ones. And they move their stories on down the road.”

A third of the way into the flap copy, and the only character I’ve introduced is lethal bacteria strain with an unpronounceable name. Ten drafts later, I seriously considered simply reproducing this helpful diagram Blythe sent while she was revising:

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Don’t worry, when you see the book in person, you’ll see that we managed something more conventional and helpful (and, unsurprisingly, with more of Blythe’s words than any of ours).

Other aspects of the jacket and packaging were easier. Owners of The Freak Observer know designer Danielle Carnito likes to be a little creative with the foil stamping on the cover under the jacket—and, in this case, with the color of that cover (it’s the the only flesh-eating bacteria road novel with a pink cover and 1/26th of an alphabet picture book text hiding under the jacket).

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Lordy, do I love this novel.