bthr book club discussion: terra
Good morning, everyone! Who is ready to talk Terra? I’m super excited! But before we dig into that, I do have a little bit of housekeeping to tackle. When we first decided to do a BTHR book club, lots of folks were interested, but the interest has definitely fizzled as we put the book club into action. So I’d love for you to answer a few questions for me. A) Are you still interested in continuing with the BTHR book club? B) If so, what changes would you like to see? Thanks!
Now, onto the debut novel from the amazingly talented Gretchen Powell. Be warned, spoilers abound!
Before I talk at all about Terra, I have to admit, I’m incredibly biased. Not only am I an insane fan of Gretchen and her blog, but Gretch also tapped me to design Terra’s cover. I jumped at the chance to design the cover because I’d read the first two chapters of Terra and was so impressed with Gretchen’s writing that I knew it was a project I just had to be a part of. I’m so proud to have my work on the cover of this novel. I hope it does the inside justice, because damn, I love the inside. But because I’m personally invested in this book, I’m sure my review is totally, 100% biased.
I’m a huge, huge fan of the YA dystopian genre, which means that I am incredibly picky about books in it. This is such a hugely popular genre right now, and, honestly, there is a lot of crap out there (and I’ve read pretty much all of it), but I think Terra really stands out among the superstars in the genre. If I’m being totally honest, I was nervous to read Terra because Gretchen is such a good friend of mine. What would I do if I didn’t like it? What if the writing was bad? What if I didn’t like the characters? But I didn’t have to worry about any of that because I was honestly blown away with how good it was. The writing was colorful and interesting without being distracting or over-the-top. The characters were interesting and well-developed. And the world Gretchen built was simultaneously totally realistic and totally unbelievable (in a great kind of way).
My favorite thing about Terra is how Gretchen struck an incredible balance with the character of Terra herself. So often, in YA books, heroines are either (a) insanely strong-willed, closed off and emotionally stunted (I’m looking at you, Katniss) or (b) weak, simple-minded and whiny (I’m looking at you, Bella), but honestly, I think the vast majority of women in the real world are both strong and vulnerable, and I think Gretchen did an incredible job painting Terra as that “every” woman. At points, I felt like Terra was saying and doing things that I would do in that situation. But then at times, she was being so strong and powerful that I found myself looking up to her. I think that’s a really tough balance for any author to strike in a character, especially in a first novel.
I think what I love the most about Terra is that it’s obvious that Gretchen absolutely loves this genre, loves writing, loves her characters and loves this story. There is so much care put into each and every word in this book. Every phrase, every sentence, every paragraph was purposeful and helped build the story. I think many self-published authors do themselves a great disservice by not working with talented editors, but it was obvious from Terra that Gretchen had an incredible creative relationship with her editor—and the end result is a beautifully flowing story that had me sucked in from the first page.
Alright, let’s have a discussion!
Since Gretchen is so awesome, she’s agreed to pop in here and answer any questions you guys have for her, so make sure to ask ‘em in the comments. Feel free to write-up your own review, but I have a few questions about Terra that I’d love talk over with you guys:
- At what point did you know something was “up” with Adam and his story? Even if you picked up on it early, did you figure out what his secret was or was that a surprise?
- What did you think the machine Terra found was?
- If you were living in Terra’s world, do you think you’d live in the skycities or the groundworld?
- If you were casting the movie of Terra, who would you cast as Terra and Adam?