Monday, April 02, 2007

Sing, chickadee.

Caridad Ferrer
's Adios to My Old Life is a finalist for two RITA Awards. These awards are definitely not my area of supposed expertise, but I'm happy to see that fun teen lit is finding a home among adults as well.

It's funny. I wouldn't have even thought of this as a romance. Not really. Yeah, there's a love interest, but that wasn't the point of the book. Not at all. The boy didn't have to be there, and Ali would have been just fine in the end (not that we don't like the boy - we totally do).

Ali Montero lives to perform. She's only truly herself when playing her beloved guitar and singing. So when the Spanish version of American Idol comes to town looking for contestants, Ali sneaks behind her father's back to audition. There's no way she going to make it in, right, so no harm and she gets some experience. Of course, under the life-long tutelage of her music professor father, Ali is far better than she knows. She gets on to the reality show and is plunged into a surreal world of tv, stylists, fame, jealousy, competition and backstabbing.

This, like The Pursuit of Happiness, isn't just a book about becoming famous, or reality tv (or with Pursuit, death). It's about family, and working hard, and growing up. It's about staying true to yourself when you have every reason not to. It's about finding out exactly who the 'you' is to stay true to.

Ok, I'm never going to roll my eyes at MTV Books again. It's really Simon & Schuster, anyway. That's two great books, and TadMack says that there's a third.

Having been so embraced by the romance world there are a plethora of other reviews out there. Here are just a few:
I don't know who Darla is, but I love her as much as she loved Adios.
Amy Garvey has a fantastic interview with Ferrer that includes the author's reaction to the RITA news.
Dee & dee have an incredibly in-depth two part review.
Not to overlook reviews by Cybil-sisters Mindy and TadMack.

Also find Ferrer on MySpace.


Little Willow said...

Adios is great. Keep your eyes peeled for IT'S NOT ABOUT THE ACCENT, Ferrer's next YA book - and through MTV Books - this summer. It's a goodie.

Anonymous said...

I haven't read Adios so I can't comment about that. However, as great as it is that that a YA book finaled in what is basically an adult book award, I also find it shocking that there weren't enough entries for a YA RITA category. I mean, with all the romance/chick lit authors who also write YA, I'm really surprised. (See Ferrer's post here)

Oh, and I don't believe that a book has to be a romance to qualify for a RITA. As long as an author is an RWA member and pays the entry fee, I think they're eligible. And they also have a category for books with "Strong Romantic Elements" for the more chick lit/women's fiction-type books.

Jackie Parker said...

I did read that while looking for what others had to say about the title. I, too, am absolutely astounded that the YA category couldn't scrape up their 25 entries. Shocked. If Adios qualified, I can easily think up another 25 with very little effort.

As for the qualifing points, that's really interesting. Again, I must claim ignorance about all things RWA.

Anonymous said...

MTV Bloody Books. Is nothing sacred?

~A disgruntled Kathryn

P.S. Although now that I think about it, MTV Films has managed to pump out some decent stuff. So perhaps I shouldn't abandon all hope.

Anonymous said...

I checked out the RWA site and, oops, there are more requirements.

"it was published by a RITA-recognized publisher;
it has an original copyright date of 2006;
it meets the requirements for the category in which it is entered;
the author did not participate financially in the production and distribution of the work"

Still, these requirements aren't all that difficult to meet, especially when you're published by the big New York houses. Was it the entry fee that turned people off?

Jackie Parker said...

Hmm... possibly. And after the whole stigma thing at Liz B's... if teen lit itself has a bad rap, imagine TEEN ROMANCES!!! *GASP* ;)

Anonymous said...

I did some more digging for a post I'm working on. So here are the RITA rules and category descriptions. Again, more complicated than I originally thought, but easy enough for most YA authors to meet if they were willing to enter their book(s) and cough up the entry fee.

You're probably right about the stigma attached to YA books. See Ferrer's comment (hope the link is okay; feel free to delete if not): "I suspect (AND THIS IS JUST PERSONAL OPINION, PEOPLE) that some people who write both adult and Young Adult fiction tend to think of their YA as less important somehow."

Anonymous said...

Trust me, I doubt you would've found anyone more surprised than me the day the finalists were announced. *g* I outlined my reasons for going ahead and entering even after the YA category failed to make it at the SBTB blog entry to which Trisha linked. I'm glad I did, if only because I get to carry the YA banner and show that YA novels can be smart, fun, entertaining reads, no matter what your age.

Thanks for the lovely review!!