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reading: everything is fine

I wasn’t sure whether to post this under writing or reading because it kind of has to do with both.

Let’s talk about voice (again). Voice is so, so important. As we all know. So sometimes when I am writing and thinking about voice I decide it’s best to just turn to the masters and read some authors who do a fantastic job with voice. Now here is the thing–you never want to copy someone’s voice. But I find that the most inspiring authors do voice so well that you know you can never imitate it. But you can read it, admire it, and aspire to do for your character what they have done for theirs.

One of the masters of voice is Ms. Ann Dee Ellis. In the interest of full disclosure, Ann Dee is a dear friend and one of my favorite people in the world. But I read her writing before I knew her in person and I loved it then, too.

The fantastic book pictured above (and her other novel, THIS IS WHAT I DID, both have such wonderful, distinct, real characters.

But I don’t just read her books for voice. They have plots that you have to gulp in one sitting, staying up way too late, ignoring your own writing. They have achingly beautiful moments and heartbreaking ones.

In short, Ann Dee writes life.

Do you want to win a copy of EVERYTHING IS FINE? A SIGNED copy? You do? Then please leave a comment on this post with the following:

1) name and e-mail or blog address (so I can contact you)
2) a sentence or two telling me a book you’ve read with excellent voice

The giveaway is open internationally, will run until this Saturday night MST (July 9) and you may enter once. Good luck!

+ comments (63)
  • Alysa
    July 7, 2011

    1. Alysa, everead at gmail dotcom
    2. Forever Rose by Hilary McKay

  • Megan Earley
    July 7, 2011

    I thought Once Was Lost by Sara Zarr was an excellent example of a natural sounding teenage voice. Sometimes it’s too obvious that authors are trying to hard to make their teens sound cool, but Zarr’s writing had that sense of being true.
    mearley1979 at gmail dot com

  • 1. Grace peachandblue2@aol.com
    2. Imaginary Girls by Nova Ren Suma. It was AMAZING and the voice, INCREDIBLE. :]

  • Jamie
    July 7, 2011

    Jamie – sunstar2006@hotmail.com

    The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom

  • Rachel Friars
    July 7, 2011

    Bleeding Violet by Dia Reeves was an amazing story. Her Characters were unique and her philosphy of writing allows them to be intense and deep. She writes what she feels like and it comes out in her voice!

  • Yolande
    July 7, 2011

    The Pretty Little Liars series is amazing. The author is so good at describing things, and she makes you feel like you are the character she is talking about. She doesn’t try too hard to sound like a teenager. Everything she writes feels like it fits perfectly in place 🙂

    Thank you!

  • Heather
    July 7, 2011


    How to Kill a Rockstar by Tiffanie DeBartolo

  • Emily C.
    July 7, 2011


    Sam’s voice in Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver was quite realistic and often brutally honest for me.

  • Aoife
    July 7, 2011

    I adore Terry Pratchett so much. Nation is one of his best, in my opinion. He manages two very distinct voices for his hero and heroine. Beautfiul, beautiful book.

  • Aubrey
    July 7, 2011


    GLIMPSE by Carol Lynch Williams

  • Rachel Singer
    July 7, 2011


    looking for alaska by john green

  • Cassandra
    July 7, 2011

    The Betrayal of Natalie Hargrove

  • Diana
    July 7, 2011

    The Percy Jackson series has awesome voice as well as Kristen Chandler’s Wolves, Boys and Other Things That might Kill Me.

    Thanks, Ally!


  • Stacey
    July 7, 2011


    Blood Red Road by Moira Young. The voice in this book was so incredibly unique. At first I was rather put off by Saba’s dialect (and her seeming unintelligence), but as the story progressed and I could hear Saba’s voice in my head as effortlessly as my own, I became quite fond of her. Young managed to make me forget I was reading a book and not just listening to a friend tell me a story.

    It was an amazing, amazing read and I highly encourage anyone looking for a read that breaks away from the YA norm to give it a shot.

  • Heather McGinn
    July 7, 2011

    I absolutely fell in love with Kazuo Ishguro’s voice in his novels, specifically “Never Let Me Go”. He has one of those amazing voices like Hemingway that draws me into the words themselves.

  • ThomasinaMorris
    July 7, 2011

    Tommie, ilenebooks(at)gmail(dot)com
    I love the voice in the Gallagher series by Ally Carter. Super strong and realistic.

  • Jessica
    July 7, 2011

    1. jessicamaebaby at yahoo dot com
    2. The Great Typo Hunt by Jeff Deck. the voice was funny and intelligent. I’ve never read anything else like it.

  • ioanaraluk95
    July 7, 2011

    Ioana ioana_raluk95@yahoo.com
    I like the voice from Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins…it’s just different 😀

  • ShawnandCarrie-Jo
    July 7, 2011

    1. carriejodowd@gmail.com
    2. Book of a Thousand Days by Shannon Hale

  • Iffath
    July 7, 2011

    I loved The Sky is Everywhere. Just so utterly amazing in a million and one ways. I can’t even put into words my love for this book. <3

    Thanks for the giveaway!


  • Norma King
    July 7, 2011

    1. norma-king@sbcglobal.net
    2. Hunger Games, of course

    Matched has a great voice, too, I’d nominate it but don’t want you to think I’m trying to be teacher’s pet.

  • Jessica316
    July 7, 2011

    The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson. I know this one has been mentioned before, but I couldn’t agree more. I loved Lennie. Her emotions were so real to me.

    Thanks for this giveaway!

    Jessica A.

  • Vivien
    July 7, 2011

    Before I Die by Jenny Downham

    deadtossedwaves at gmail dot com

  • Erica Jane
    July 7, 2011

    1) Erica Jane Ostergar; ericalovestwilight@gmail.com

    2) Great Expectations by Charles Dickens

  • Stephanie
    July 7, 2011

    I love the voice in The Help by Katherine Stockett. The three different voices she uses are all so accurate and distinct.

  • Megan
    July 7, 2011

    1. Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma – she juggled two POV’s and very taboo subject matter masterfully. Maya and Lochan were two fully fleshed out people because of their distinct voices.
    2. Delirium by Lauren Oliver-the voice in this book was transparent in a good way, you were able to completely embody Lena and live it with her.

  • Anna Sindt
    July 7, 2011

    I love Meg’s voice in A Summer to Die. It is one of my all time favorite books.


    July 7, 2011


    I noticed someone already mentioned this one, but I swear I’m not stealing her idea! But I loved the voice in The Help by Kathryn Stockett. I used to live in the South and I could actually hear these women speaking in my head!

  • Susan Light
    July 7, 2011

    I loved Adam’s voice in Gayle Forman’s “Where She Went”. And I have been waiting tp read “The Goddess test”. It looks like a wonderful book!

  • Susan Light
    July 7, 2011

    I loved Adam’s voice in Gayle Forman’s “Where She Went”.

  • Julia
    July 7, 2011

    1. juliesempire2@web.de
    2. “The Hunger Games” I & 2, because I lived, breathed and suffered with Katniss. Extremely lively and authentic (sorry if this is not the best English , but I hope and guess you understand what I mean :-).

  • Elizabeth
    July 7, 2011

    I have to agree with Susan Light that Adam’s voice in where she went. And also Mia from If I Stay.

  • BeccaC.
    July 7, 2011

    1. rachristiansen (at) live (dot) ca
    2. Right now I’m reading Imaginary Girls by Nova Ren Suma, and the voice is awwwwwesome. Actually, the writing as a whole is awesome!

  • Queenie
    July 7, 2011

    A book with a great voice is Life As We Knew It by Beth Pfeffer.

  • Nancy
    July 7, 2011

    I love books that make me laugh out loud. The most recent one I’ve read is your Freshman for President….it was different than I thought it would be, my daughter and I both loved it! I also love books that make me cry. The Secret Journal of Brett Colton is one of my favorites.

  • Melissa
    July 7, 2011

    email: kllamp(at)internode(dot)on(dot)net

    Chime by Franny Billingsley has a fantastic unique voice. Briony is odd and perculiar, and I just adored her (although it did take a while for me to form that opinion -those who have read it will understand what I mean!).

  • Aeriell Choquette
    July 7, 2011

    Adam from Where She Went by Gayle Forman is my favorite voice. I love that book and how real and raw he was.


  • Sophia Chang
    July 7, 2011

    Yes! Voice is key – I liked the Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks.

    sophiathewriter at gmail

  • Cassidy
    July 7, 2011

    I ADORE all the Hunger Games books (Suzanne Collins) and the way she builds her characters.


  • Megan
    July 7, 2011

    Hello theirs alot of author to choose from that are good as using voice for their characters. Right now I am crazy about this author at the moment named Kady Cross and she delves into the world of steampunk with her prequel ‘The Strange Case of Finely Jayne’ and her first book ‘The Girl in the Steel Corset’

  • Megan
    July 7, 2011

  • Madeleine Lewis
    July 7, 2011

    1. molew@suddenlink.net
    2. I recently read The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie. Alan Bradley’s narrator, an eleven year old named Flavia de Luce, somehow bundles the dramatics of a child with the sense and brains of an adult into one voice. In the midst of a murder investigation in which her father is the most likely suspect, she manages to keep the book light and humorous with her classic resentment towards older sisters and her impressive knowledge of chemistry–more specifically poisons.

  • Petra
    July 7, 2011

    I think that Margaret Atwood has an amazing sense of voice in all her novels. It is found especially in ‘Surfacing’, it was one of the reasons why I loved the story so much. The complex nature and uniqueness of it made the novel something truly spectacular.

  • Heather Macbeth
    July 8, 2011

    puebar at gmail dot com

    I loved the voice in Book of a Thousand Days by Shannon Hale. It gives different perspective than most people are used to and it humbles you. Although I think that all of Shannon Hale’s books are fabulous with voice.

  • Emily R. S.
    July 8, 2011

    Susane Colasanti books have amazing voice. So Much Closer was me in high school and I totally said some of the same lines as the characters. Matched had awesome voice and I tore through that favorite in a day. 🙂

  • Sabine
    July 8, 2011

    I would LOVE to read this book. 🙂 Sounds good.


  • Kadi A
    July 8, 2011

    1. Kadi Abel

    2. The Help by Kathryn Stockett captivated me with 3 very distinct voices as she told from 3 different characters point of view. I think I fell in love with those characters much faster than in any other book I’ve read.

  • Elizabeth
    July 8, 2011

    I absolutely love “The Woman in White” by Wilkie Collins. It’s a lesser-known novel, but it is fabulous! Collins was a friend of Dickens, and each chapter of this mystery is written from the point of view of the character who knows the most about what is going on at that particular time.

  • Corey Paxton
    July 8, 2011

    Corey, my email is coreym.paxton@gmail.com and the novels that have a very good voice are the Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins.

  • Ryanne
    July 8, 2011

    ryanneslocombe at gmail dot com. I think The Hunger Games has one of the most interesting voices. I also love Shannon Hale’s use of voice.

  • Anita Metodieva
    July 8, 2011

    Anita Metodieva / annie [dot] annie [at] abv [dot] bg
    I really like 13 Reasons Why. It`s shows 2 point of views and the 2 voices are good and strong in their own ways.

  • alisonwonderland
    July 8, 2011

    alisonwonderlandUT AT gmail DOT com

    I think that the Ruby Oliver novels by E. Lockhart have great voice.

  • AlexAnacki
    July 8, 2011

    Alex Anacki, alexanacki@yahoo.com

    Bliss by Tracy Bowen and Jenness Walker has a wonderful voice. The authors can truly understand what they’re writing about, as if they have experienced what the character has gone through. Who knows, maybe they have! 🙂

  • Maia
    July 8, 2011

    A book I’ve recently read with wonderful voice was Ballad, by Maggie Steifvater. It was told in the first person by two people, and they each had both very similar and different views on life. Maggie Steifvater did an amazing job of portraying both voices, each one heartfelt and beautiful and real even though the plot involves faeries and magic.

    • Maia
      July 8, 2011

      Sorry….Maggie STIEFVATER. That’s what I meant… 🙂

  • Jenna
    July 8, 2011

    1. Jenna – angelalwayz26@hotmail.com
    2. Sarah Ockler does a great job with voice in both Twenty Boy Summer and Fixing Delilah. Both I couldn’t put down because the characters experienced such real emotions.

  • Sharli
    July 8, 2011

    I recently read Awaken by Katie Kacvinsky and I just loved Maddie’s voice. She sounded so authentic. And she was hilarious! That’s one of my favorite things in a main character.
    I loved the book, especially the characters 🙂

    Thank you so much for the giveaway!
    entrelibros_blog at hotmail dot com

  • Diana
    July 8, 2011

    I recently read Divergent by Veronica Roth, and I really loved her voice. It tells enough so that you understand, but not so much that it comes out straightforward and just tells you everything. I think that’s important because the reader should work and use their brains to understand the message without being told with dulling overly-descriptive straightforwardness.

  • Rebecca
    July 9, 2011

    The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. The voice portrayed through Katniss is refreshing as she is a strong, insightful, thinking character that is different from your typical heroine yet she manages to feel so real.
    Gotta love it!

  • Ronni
    July 9, 2011


    I love Wonder’s voice in Pop Princess by Rachel Cohn. It’s so original, yet believable.

    lilrongal at gmail dot com


  • Jennifer A.
    July 9, 2011

    I love the voice of many of Tamora Pierce’s books, but my favorite is her Protector of the Small quartet. You can hear Kel in your head as your reading. javh28@comcast.net is my e-mail address.

  • Emily B.
    July 9, 2011

    Invisible Lines by Mary Amato has great voice. It show cases the struggle of the average teen trying to fit in and make it their year. Very realistic!!

  • Amanda
    August 5, 2011

    I really like the voice in The Book Thief by Zusak. I like that it is Death that tells the story and has a little sense of humor.

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