aprilhenry (aprilhenry) wrote,

When great minds think alike

A few years back, I got a Google Alert about a review in Kirkus that began, "With a plot that mirrors April Henry's Shock Point, Walter Sorrell's Silent Room..." The snippet stopped there.

To be honest, I freaked out. That was the extent of the review that was available online unless you subscribed to Kirkus. I actually managed to buy a copy of the ARC on e-bay, and when I read it, it turned out that while the two stories began in a similar fashion (stepparent arranges for kid who is actually not that bad to be sent to a draconian boot camp), they really did not have that much in common beyond boot camps. And around the same time, Todd Strasser also ended up writing a book called, you guessed it, Boot Camp).  

While I haven’t checked with Todd and Walter, I have a feeling we all read a series of articles in the New York Times about WAASP schools that sparked the idea of writing about boot camp schools.

Recently, I received a nice note from Printz-honor author Helen Frost.  When Helen learned about Girl, Stolen, she realized that we had books coming out fairly close to each other (her book, Hidden, comes out next spring) with some similarities in the story lines. 

Curious, Helen read about Girl, Stolen online and realized that the beginning of her next book, Hidden, is something like the beginning of Girl, Stolen. Just like I did with Silent Room, she was able to get an ARC, at which point she realized just how different the two books were. 

Helen says, “My main character is eight in the first part of the story, the part that parallels yours. Then the rest of the book is about when she is 14 and meets the daughter of the guy who stole the car (they meet at a summer camp)--it's their relationship that is really at the heart of the book. In the rest of the book, the two stories are very different. Hidden is a novel-in-poems, like all my recent books.”  It’s also a middle-grade, as opposed to a YA. And of course, her main character isn’t blind.    

In a similar situation to Helen’s, I heard about a YA by Lucy Christopher that came out this summer. It’s called Stolen, and is about a girl who’s kidnapped.  When I read that description, my heart fell, at least at first. But she's kidnapped at an airport and taken to the Australian Outback, so the resemblance really only is in the title and the kidnapping.

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