This month's book is Where the Staircase Ends by our very own Stacy Stokes. I feel in love with the book from the very first sentence and wanted to know more about the mysteries locked within the pages of the book. Because I had such a strong reaction to the book, I wanted the chance to spotlight it.
Synopsis (from Goodreads): After her best friend orchestrates the lie that destroys her reputation, Taylor wants more than anything to disappear from her life. But when an accident turns this unspoken wish into reality, instead of an angel-filled afterlife, Taylor must climb a seemingly endless staircase into the sky. Instead of giving up, the journey plunges into the past. As she unravels the mystery behind her friend's betrayal, she must face the truth about life and find the strength to forgive the unforgivable - unless the staircase breaks her first.
First line: I never noticed my pointy elbows until they became yet another reason for people to avoid me.
Highlights: For me, it was the characters. Taylor jumped off the page from the very start. As soon as I learned about Taylor's pointy elbows and how everyone avoided them, I was hooked. I wanted to know more about this character and why people avoided her. And the more I learned about this girl, the more I grew to like her. Stacy has a gift when it comes to characterization. She skillfully develops relatable characters that exhibit both positive and negative attributes. It is this balance between both good and bad that make her characters so enduring and life-like. And while Stacy is good at creating characters, she is even better at creating relationships for it is the bond between Sunny and Taylor that was the true highlight of the story. It is this bond, this friendship, this . . . sisterly love that makes the story so universal and one that I think is important for teenagers to hear.
Stacy's characters really come to life because Stacy is also such a strong world builder and has a knack for teasing out the story as she switches from past to present. This playful ability to elude is what kept me reading, but it is her characters that made this book so memorable.
Notes for writers: This is a great book to learn about characterization and world building. Stacy expertly creates likeable characters but it is her unique description and vivid imagery that pulls the reader into the scene. I loved the freshness of her wording in phrases such as the hiss, hiss, hiss of heated whispers.
A good read for: Fans of Gayle Forman's If I Stay and Lauren Oliver's Before I fall. It should be noted that sex, curse words, underage drinking, and underage smoking are mentioned. That being said the story was so well executed and the message so important that I would even recommend the story to my teenage son.