Last year, the historical I worked was only 30K by the end of November, but, I was excited about the story, I loved the characters, I had a great beginning. And I knew the story would be everything I expect of my writing projects. That, to me, was a successful NaNoWriMo. I didn't spend any less time on the character worksheets this year, but the characters still wouldn't come to life. Which is weird, because my writing voice fits better in the Contemporary world, with Contemporary characters. Maybe it was the YA flavor that messed me up . . . maybe older characters are easier for me. I'm praying about it.
Anyway. I picked up There You'll Find Me, desperate for inspiration that might save my NaNo project. A brilliant, upbeat story about a teen's search for peace and answers after losing a close sibling, and I enjoyed it enough to name it a favorite. First YA listed among my favorite books. Finley was witty, sassy, and fun. I enjoyed her even more than the hero (which is rare), and easily related to her need for control. As Finley realized her destructive patterns, I saw parallels in my own life. It's rare for a book to minister to me on such a level, and a huge surprise, coming from a YA.
Finley Sinclair journeys to Ireland as an exchange student, confident in her ability to piece her life and faith back together once she experiences the land her brother loved so well. The Catholic school comes with a sabotaging bully and an assignment to visit a crabby and dying nursing home patient--as if she hasn't had enough of death. She can still look forward to touring Ireland with her brother's journal. The last notes to her audition piece for the Manhattan music conservatory waits for her at the Celtic grave marker her brother photographed, she can feel it. But her only mode of independent transportation is a bicycle. And there's that vampire movie star again--Beckett Rush keeps popping up wherever she goes, first on the plane, and now at her host family's B&B. He's interested in showing her the sights, in exchange for help with his movie lines. Finley doesn't need the trouble Beckett certainly is, but her host parents are always busy, so how else will she see Ireland?
My only complaint was plot predictability. I anticipated a lot of what would happen as it unfolded. However. The wonderful characters combined with the author's talent for snark and witty dialogue compensated for what it lacked in mystery, making it a captivating read from cover to cover. I'm looking forward to reading more by Jenny B. Jones. I can just tell she'll be a favorite author for me. :-)