Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Mad Love ~ Suzanne Selfors review + interview

(Interview after the review!)

Mad Love
Walker Books for Young Readers
January 4, 2011
336 pages
Buy/info @ Amazon

Alice Amorous isn't only the daughter of the Queen of Romance, she's the daughter of a woman secretly hospitalized for mental illness. Most would expect Amorous, the author of dozens of hit romance novels and her teenage daughter to be living the high life--and Alice wants them to keep on doing so.

Only a handful of people know the truth about Alice's mother and its getting harder and harder for her to keep it that way. Alice has been just able to manage everything in her mother's absence, but now the Queen of Romance's next book is overdue and Alice needs a story.And fast.

Enter Cupid. Or a boy, named Errol, who seems awfully convinced that he is Cupid. A boy who says he has a story to tell Alice--the greatest love story ever, that of his love with Psyche.

After trying to fend off the weird boy, all while working on figuring out what to do with the cute boy she sees every day, Alice starts hearing his voice in her head. And she knows one thing for certain: either she's more like her mother than she'd like . . . or Errol might not be so odd.

Mad Love is an interesting blend of a mostly contemporary YA with just enough fantasy to satisfy those readers that need that little fantasy kick but not put off readers that don't usually read fantasy. It's also not nearly as lighthearted as I expected it to be--but it's cute and fun so it never feels weighted down, either.

I'm really happy to see Young Adult books broaching the subject of mental illness as a part of life and not just a mythical thing -- and even happier at how well and kindly it's being done. The fact that Alice's mother is ill is dealt with by her throughout the book and I really enjoyed watching that part of her grow.

The secondary characters in Mad Love were each very interesting in their own right. They weren't cookie cutter, expectable characters, nor were they expectable in their unique, quirkyness. I appreciated each of them for what they added to the story.

I would have to say that the only let down in both the plot and characters, for me, was with Errol. For being such a large part of the story, I would have liked to have seen him developed more. So, so much was done with Alice (obviously, given that she as the main character) and I connected much more with the other characters than I did with Errol. I really do think that was the only placed where I wished for a little 'more.'

I am moving Coffeehouse Angel up my 'to read' list now for sure.

Rating: 9/10

Interview with Suzanne Selfors
(author of Mad Love and also the YAs Coffeehouse Angel and Saving Juliet):

How do you think you would react if someone came up to you and said they were Cupid?
I'd probably react the same way Alice did--I'd think the guy was nuts. Of course, I'd need proof. I write about magic but that's entirely different than believing in it--though wouldn't it be nice to be able to conjure a love spell now and then?

Do you have a favorite fictionalizations of Cupid? (other than your own!)
I was a huge fan of that campy show, Zena: Warrior Princess, and I remember a really funny version of Cupid from that show. He looked like a suntanned blonde Ken doll. My version is a bit, well, a bit earthier.

What was it like working on The Novel: Live? Do you think you would enjoy co-writing a book (with one other author?)
What an amazing group of writers. I was so lucky to be invited to join, being I'm still an unknown. But I admit I was a bit scared to write live. It's like getting dressed in front of people. But I think everyone understood that we were creating a first draft and that took some pressure off. I would enjoy co-writing a book, and I've thought about it. Time is hectic right now, since I'm writing for two publishers, but it's on my radar as a possible future project.

Are there any new/recent YA books or authors that you really enjoy?
It's not a new book, but I recently read Nancy Farmer's The House of the Scorpion and loved it. Thanks for the interview.

Thank you, Suzanne, for the interview!! I now have a new book on my TBR list . . . and a hope of a possible future co-written book!

I hope everyone enjoys reading Suzanne's answers--please think about leaving her (or me) a comment :)

If somehow, you're still not sure, HERE is a link to the book trailer on YouTube

very big thank you to Kate at Bloomsbury for arranging the interview (and book tour) and sending me the book to read and review!!

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