Shannon Stacey

A new trend?

So I just plucked Grin and Bear It { a bear ate my ex…and that’s okay } by Leslie LaFoy (Harlequin Next) out of my TBR pile.

(A short digression: I picked this book up at the grocery store. I didn’t recognize the author’s name. I haven’t particularly had great luck with Next novels. I didn’t even read the blurb. I saw the title and it went into the cart.)

Anyway, I just plucked it out and read the back blurb. Sounded interesting, and I’m in a palate-cleansing mood—I’ve been reading and writing too much of certain genres and was looking for something different.

Well, I started reading it. (And so far it’s really good, btw.) But it hit me a few pages in that the back cover blurb is written in first person:


How am I, a smart, confident—and did I mention, innocent?—woman supposed to react when smack-dab in the middle of my messy divorce the single-engine plane of my soon-to-be ex-husband crashes into the mountains of Montana’s Bitterroot National Forest and I become the prime suspect in his disappearance?*

*Did I also forget to mention that there was no body? (There is a very strong possibility it has been dragged away by bears. Yes, bears.)


Grin and bear it—like I’ve done most of my adult life—only now, I’ve decided, I’m going to be the one asking the important questions (see above) and not taking any answers at face value…

The book itself is written in third person.

It occurs to me that I’ve seen at least two other books done like this recently, but I can’t find them right now in the big old mountain. And it surprises me, because a lot of readers feel very strongly about their preferences as to first person or third person. If I had read this blurb in the store two years ago I wouldn’t have bought it because I didn’t like first person. (I’ve developed more of a liking for it recently or I wouldn’t have much to read anymore.)

While I don’t personally feel that the blurb really has to reflect the author’s voice (as in print, they’re very rarely written by the author), but it should reflect the story, and first/third person is a big part of that.

At best I think whoever’s in charge of the blurbs thinks the first person is catchier, more immediate. At worst, I think they’re trying to suck in the chick lit readers who are perhaps more accustomed to first person.

Has anybody else noticed this, or is it just me?

(And where did I read just very recently that if you have to ask “is it just me?” that it is, so shut up? *g*)

7 comments to “A new trend?”

  1. AngieW
      · March 19th, 2006 at 2:08 pm · Link

    Keishon’s blog?

    And I noticed this on a book I was reading the blurb for in Wal-mart. I actually picked up the book several times, because I liked the cover. But I hated the back blurb every time I read it. I think it was written first person, from the hero’s POV. I love first person, so there’s no good reason that I hated the blurb, other than a visceral type reaction. The book itself was third person. Like you, I’ve noticed this trend and I think of it as a form of false advertising, in a way. If the blurb is in first person, I expect the book to be written the same. I buy a lot of books online, based on blurbs, and I want them to give me the straight skinny on the book, not try to trick me into buying it.

  2. Charlene
      · March 19th, 2006 at 4:37 pm · Link

    Well, that’s an annoying trend. Only the excerpt can be trusted? :eyebrow:

  3. Melinda--Annmarie Mckenna
      · March 19th, 2006 at 9:02 pm · Link

    I also don’t like the way they do first person blurbs, and they do more and more-especially on categories. I don’t read first person, don’t like it, but I’ve learned to read a page or two of the real book if the blurb’s in first person. MOST of the time the actual writing is not.
    Just my two cents.
    Annmarie McKenna-I’ll probably do the same when Blackmailed comes out in print-force my kids to pose.

  4. Karen Templeton
      · March 19th, 2006 at 11:19 pm · Link

    Huh. I read GABI and never noticed the first/third person thing. I guess “they” were trying to connect with the reader or something? But it’s more likely the other way around — book is first, blurb in third. I haven’t noticed any other first person blurbs. But then, I didn’t notice this one, either. Also, I don’t get out much. :eyebrow:

    I’ve been reading a lot of NEXTs because my editor says she wants me to write for the line (and I ran into the senior ed in the ladies’ at Sil last July and SHE said she wanted me to write for the line, which is kinda a reverse of the sticking-the-book-under-the-editor’s-stall-door legend, come to think of it). However, since I’ve heard zilch on two proposals that have been there since Sept., I’m guessing no one’s in any big hurry for that to happen. :shrug:

    However, I’ve ready maybe ten of them, and I’d give the line as a whole a B, maybe a B-, which for me, is amazing, since I hate everything. But my fave (of those I’ve read) was Jennifer Archer’s THE ME I USED TO BE.

  5. Shannon
      · March 20th, 2006 at 10:24 am · Link

    Oooh, I think you’d write a great Next. :nod:

    I think my problem with reading Nexts is that I keep grabbing ones that turn out to be chick lit with simply an older heroine who happens to be divorced, or something. Even though I knew it wasn’t an HEA-required line, I was hoping for romances/women’s fiction that resonated more for me. Like A Husband’s Watch. If there was a line made up of books like that, I’d devour them like candy. Or like The Oceans Between Us by Susan Wiggs.

    I think I’ve just moved into the area of my life where the issues change. The area where your husband kisses your cheek more than your mouth, and you realize that once the kids go off to college, what the HELL are you supposed to talk about? The dating game is 15 years behind me, and I don’t really identify with it anymore.

    Anyway, I’m babbling. I’ll add Jennifer Archer’s book to my list!

  6. Karen Templeton
      · March 20th, 2006 at 11:15 am · Link

    Y’know, I keep hearing great stuff about Wiggs. . .really need to go read her. . .

    And hey, lip-smacking within hearing distance of the kids is great for eliciting grossed-out Ewwwwws from the next room! :thumb:

  7. Lori
      · March 20th, 2006 at 2:59 pm · Link

    I HATE this too!! Because I don’t like 1st person books. So I have to start reading the book, I can’t even trust the blurb now. It is definitely an annoying trend!!

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