TGIF: Sequels

TGIF was a feature at one of my favorite blogs, GReads. It’s a way to recap the week, talk about fun book things, and celebrate the weekend. Each week a bookish question was proposed as a way to get to know fellow bloggers and write about issues we care about.

Actually, this post should be called “TGIF: Sequels that are awkwardly published years and years after the first book.”

I chose this topic because as I was browsing Goodreads this week, I noticed that a couple books I read as a kid are coming out with sequels this year. This wouldn’t have been all that odd to me usually, but these sequels have at least five years between them and their predecessors.

For example, “A Certain Slant of Light,” a book that I didn’t think deserved all the hype even when the first book was published, will have a sequel at some point in 2013. Laura Whitcomb published the first book way back in 2005, which was 8 years ago. I mean, does anyone even remember it now who read it in 2005 or really want to read it again so they know what happened? Eight years is an awfully long time between books. Plus, she’s only written one other YA book in between, “The Fetch,” in 2009. I feel like she must have a lot of faith in her readers to write this book now.

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I also saw that Kirby Larson has written a sequel to “Hattie Big Sky,” which was originally published in  2006. That’s a seven-year gap between books. I guess I just think it’s kind of odd that an author would choose to write a sequel to something so many years later. I mean, do people remember these books enough to read the sequels? What made the authors want to return to these characters and stories after so long? Kirby Larson has written a lot more books in between Big Sky and Ever After, so I’m particularly curious what made her decide to go back to Hattie.

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I mean, of course there are other authors who have done this sort of thing before. Just last October, Lois Lowry published the fourth book of the Giver Quartet, nine years after “Messenger.” But then again, that series was much beloved for many years and has become somewhat of a modern classic, and besides that, Lois Lowry is just so awesome that she can pretty much do whatever she wants, in my opinion.

I think I’m just trying to figure out what the point of writing a sequel with a gap of over five years is. Is it the characters? Is it the world of the book? Is it the story? Has the author run out of ideas? This post is not meant to be critical, just pointing out some observations I’ve made, and out of genuine curiosity about the writing process. Thoughts?

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