Roses are read. . . novels in verse

It’s National Poetry Month!  YAY!  Are you all ready to float around in flat bottomed boats, wearing hats and murmuring lines from Wordworth to the objects off your affections?

Me neither.

Not that Wordsworth isn’t completely fabulous (he really did write some amazing stuff, and it’s worth looking up poems like My Heart Leaps Up just to have them in your pocket for a rainy day) but let’s face it – modern times call for modern reads, poetry month or not.  Which is where the novel in verse comes in.  Not exactly a new idea – writing out a longer tale in poetry – by definitely a new feel to these format bridging works of fiction.  Here are a few to sample from.  Feel free to add your own favorites in the comments.


Ellen Hopkins

Just like fiction crossing formats, Katrina Snow is crossing worlds.  In this chilling and un-put-down-able tale, Hopkins uses experiments with verse and form to follow Katrina’s ever more fragmented descent into the darkness of addiction.  Telling much more here would violate my ‘No Spoiler’ rule, so just pick it up and read it.  If you like this one, Hopkins’ Impulse is another dark, twisty, versey pick.


 The Realm of Possibility

David Levithan

This one is lighter, but oooh sooo chewy!  One of the tag-lines for this book is “One school. Twenty voices. Endless possibilities.”  And that pretty much covers it, if you’re reading only at the surface.  But this book is really a world in itself – full of characters, relationships, and stories that all weave in and out of each other.  A format bender with double reading value – you can read at the surface and have a great time, or you can dive in, engage, and have. . .  well . . .a really great time.  Highly recommend.  Besides – it’s Levithan.  How far wrong can you go?


Heaven Looks a Lot Like the Mall

Wendy Mass

And a little bit on the lighter side (but not totally fluffy).  So life is like going to the mall.  You look at things.  You make choices.  You buy into things.  It’s a pretty basic allegory, right?  In fact it’s so simple that it almost doesn’t sound like it would make up a decent novel.  But it does.  Actually, it does it very well.  The protaganist here, Tessa, will make you laugh with her even when you just don’t want to like her, which makes for a totally enjoyable read.  The fact that there’s also a hefty shot of insight to be had in this book is nicely sugared over with humor and real voices – no high-handed, preachy, ‘this is how you should live’ mess here.

Stop by a branch and check out these (and lots more) novels in verse to celebrate National Poetry Month.