4 Aug 2012

AAA: Jennifer Echols, author of Going Too Far: 5 Books I Wish I’d Written

I first discovered Jennifer Echols last year in 2011, and ever since then I’ve been a fan. She is such a talented writer and has so far written 9 books, and is not slowing down, with another 6 books to release over the next few years – talk about speedy! She has won awards, including the National Readers’ Choice Award, and the Book Buyer’s Best, which only goes to show just how fantastic Jennifer and her books really are! I’m so excited to have Jennifer here today, talking about which 5 books she wishes she had written. Introducing the one and only, Jennifer Echols!

Top 5 Books I Wish I’d Written

Part of the reason I love writing YA is that I was reading a lot of YA when I decided to be a writer. Here are 5 of the books that nudged me into that decision.

1. Fifteen by Beverly Cleary
As a child, I’d read every Cleary book I could find. She has a gift for writing with exquisite clarity without seeming stuffy or talking down to her young readers. When I encountered Fifteen in the school library, it had the Cleary style I loved so much, but it was also the most “adult” book I’d read, about a fifteen-year-old having her first crush and going on her first date. At that age, I was moving toward teenage-hood. I was interested in boys and in my own appearance for the first time, and suddenly very self-conscious.

Simultaneously, the media and many adults were telling me and all tween girls that our interests were silly and our feelings were ridiculous. We were ridiculous and less valuable than real people. Yet here was this author I had grown up with, writing a whole novel about exactly those interests and feelings, and thereby telling me that I had worth. I hadn’t known before that a novel could be that delicious. I’d been interested before in creative writing as a career, but this is the first time I thought, “I want to write one of these.”

2. Can You Sue Your Parents for Malpractice? by Paula Danziger
As with Cleary, I’d been reading Danziger for a while before I encountered this novel. Of the YA triumvirate in the early 1980s--Judy Bloom, Lois Duncan, and Danziger--she was my favorite because she was funny. But this book was also sexy. I couldn’t believe it. The other day I went to a meeting for new parents of middle schoolers at the library that will be my son’s middle school library in August. I found a copy of this book on the shelves. It depicts the heroine and hero looking at law books. Trust me, the novel is not about law books or malpractice. It is about setting an egg timer and making out until the alarm goes off.

3. Ransom by Lois Duncan
In the 1980s this book’s title was Five Were Missing, and it’s about five teenagers kidnapped from a school bus. My best friend and I loved this book and talked about how we would rewrite it starring ourselves and the boys we had crushes on. This was the first time I started to understand how to set up a plot for a novel, but I have talked about that in much more detail here.

4. The Moonspinners by Mary Stewart
At the same time my mother was handing me adult bestsellers like John Le Carré and Tom Clancy, and she was telling me to stay away from romance novels because they were garbage--while simultaneously handing me romance novels by Mary Stewart. This was a misunderstanding on her part. A lot of people believe all romance novels are garbage, and therefore if somebody writes a great romance novel you love, it must not be a romance novel, right? Whatever. It’s all okay now. In the past few years I’ve gotten her hooked on Jennifer Crusie, Linda Howard, and Nora Roberts. Anyhoo, of all the Mary Stewart books, The Moonspinners, while not YA, features her youngest characters, and it’s my favorite. The heroine goes on vacation in Crete and stumbles upon an adorable wounded hero who has to stay hidden. It’s a matter of life and death! There is an old Disney film made from this book. I have not seen it but I hear it’s Disney-like. Do not be fooled. The book is always better.

5. The Beginning Place by Ursula K. Le Guin
I’m not a paranormal person, so why is this book about slaying a dragon on my list? It’s so beautifully written that it’s almost an allegory for coming of age, but it still manages to stay grounded in vivid description of what it feels like to finally break away from your parents and start your own adulthood.

Find Jennifer on: Goodreads | Website | Blog | Twitter | Facebook

I haven’t read any of these titles, nor had I even heard of them before Jennifer brought them to my attention, but after reading about why Jennifer loves these books and why she wishes she had written them, I am definitely intrigued by the sound of them all!

A HUGE thank you to Jennifer for her time! If you haven’t yet read anything by Jennifer Echols, I highly suggest you run out and grab a copy of one of book very soon! If you’re already a fan, that's great, why not take the time to thank her and show her some love!

Don't forget to go enter the AAA giveaway! It's open internationally, and there are DOZENS of prizes to be won!


  1. I am crazy, crazy, CRAZY eager to read Jennifer's novels!! I hear so much praise for them and they sound INCREDIBLE. I can't believe I've yet to read any *shakes head sadly* This must be rectified!

    I haven't heard of any of the novels she listed either, but if one of the Queen's of contempoary is recommending them... yeah, I want to read them. And do my eyes spy a book about slaying dragons? SO THERE! And Ransom is also standing out to me. Fabulous list!!

    1. You really must read a book by Jennifer super soon! I've only read a few of her books but so far my favorite is Going Too Far!

      Agreed! They all sound so interesting! I'm really liking the sound of Fifteen and Can You Sue Your Parents for Malpractice :)

  2. Echols is an amazing author! I've only read a few of her books and I can't wait to pick up a lot more. Thanks for sharing this fab post with us Rebecca and Jennifer! I'd never heard of any of these books either! So can't wait to check them out! :)

    1. Same! I hope that by the end of the year, I'm up to date and have read all her current books. *runs off to start devouring*
      This sure is an interesting list of books, isn't it! Thanks for stopping by, Jasprit! :)

  3. What a great question to ask an author! I haven't read anything by Jennifer yet, but I have a few on my TBR list.

    And, ohmygosh, The Moonspinner's is a book?! I had no idea! I LOVED that Disney movie when I was younger. So full of adventure and romance. Must find that book and read it right away! Also, anything by Ursula K. Le Guin is a win. Add in a dragon and it's bound to be epic.

    Thanks Rebecca and Jennifer for this great post!

    1. Thanks, Kristen! I really hope you get round to reading a book by Jennifer soon because her books are amazing and really addictive :D

      I've never seen The Moonspinner's movie, but I might have to check it out soon. But then again, the book is always better ;)

      Thanks so much for stopping by!

  4. Oh goodness, I still haven't read any of Jennifer's novels, and I'ma FIX THIS. I'm REALLY looking forward to Such A Rush, and !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! She's AMAZING. Also, oh my goodness. What a way to put these books on my radar. I mean, when she describes an author like this: "She has a gift for writing with exquisite clarity without seeming stuffy or talking down to her young readers." :O :O :O

  5. I've never heard of any of these books Jennifer mentions! Oh my goodness!

    Of her books, I've only read Going Too Far, which I LOVED. Hello Johnafter! But I have Such A Rush sitting her on the end of my bed and hopefully I can get to it soon because I hear it is AMAZING.

    Another great post! I'm enjoying these so much!