Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Blog Tour: Author Spotlight The Way the Light Bends by Cordelia Jensen + Interview

Posted by HelloJennyReviews at 12:00 AM

Cordelia Jensen holds an MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts and teaches creative writing in Philadelphia, where she lives with her husband and children. She is also the author of Skyscraping. Follow her on Twitter @cordeliajensen.

Title: The Way the Light Bends
Genre: YA Contemporary
Author: Cordelia Jensen
Publisher: Philomel
Publication: March 27th 2018
Cover Rating: 4/5
Reading format: Provided ARC

The Way the Light Bends by Cordelia Jensen is the very impactful story of sisters, Linc and Holly. Linc is the blood daughter and Holly is adopted. Their parents were in the process of adopting a child when they found out they were pregnant with Linc and still proceeded with the adoption, too. This is a story that shows that love runs deeper than blood but you have to remember that blood needs love too.

Linc is artistic while Holly is book-smart. Their mother doesn't seem to understand Linc and the way she learns. As a doctor, she thinks that everyone should get straight A's and be academically inclined. So, Linc is dealing with an overbeating mother along with the fact that she and Holly used to be best friends but now they hardly even talk. To say Linc is having a rough time is an understatement. 

But Holly is also having a hard time. Being adopted and a different skin color than your family is a very difficult thing to accept and deal with sometimes. She wants to make her mother proud but she also wants to find out who she is and where she is truly from. She wants to learn more about her heritage but is afraid of upsetting her parents. So Holly does all her school work and impresses her parents while Linc is failing school and begging to go to school for photography instead.

Linc gets expelled from school for punching her sister's boyfriend for something he said about her. This starts a journey, for Linc, that isn't good but isn't entirely bad either. Her mother doesn't understand her and all she wants to do is follow her passion, her heart. Then she overhears something that makes her understand why her mother is the way she is towards her. It shatters Linc's world and that is the real turning point for this book.

In the end, things turned out pretty great for everyone in the family. I still hold some resentment towards the mother, so I can only imagine how Linc felt. Her mother thought she was protecting her from the world because she was "different" but what she was really doing was destroying their mother-daughter bond.

Overall, I gave the book 4/5 stars.

1) Where did the inspiration for The Way the Light Bends come from?
It actually first came from a news story I heard on NPR about Seneca Village. While listening to the story, I immediately had an image of two sisters, one black and one white, feeling disconnected while walking through Central Park. Right away, I knew that the African-American sister was adopted but fit in with her family and that the biological sister would be wandering the park trying to find herself again. The photography came later, though I knew she would be an artist. At first, I thought it would be a ghost story and that the villagers from Seneca Village would be a part of Linc's interactions. Even though that no longer happens, the interplay of the past interacting with the present is the basis for Linc's main art project in the book, so there is a ghost-like quality to her work. 

2) How many books do you personally own?
I lost count at 1,000. But I would guess it is at least 1,500. 800 and something of those are books for kids and teens. I have a book buying problem!

3) Why did you choose to write your books in verse?
I think because my background is in poetry (along with my MFA, I graduated Kenyon College with a degree in Creative Writing, poetry specifically) but I have always loved to read stories and preferred more narrative poems. It is the writing style that comes out of me naturally. I think I also think of stories in a series of snapshots, which are also like poems. I also truly believe that the teen years are a great fit for verse novels because being a teen means to feel in between, and the verse novel is an in-between art form, comfortable living in a gray space. In THE WAY THE LIGHT BENDS specifically, the style fits Linc not just because she is a teen having a difficult, emotional time (emotionally heavy books are also often a good match for verse) but she is also an artist. It was a lot of fun to think of how creative I could be with the space on the page to match Linc's own imagination. 

4) If you could only eat ONE food item for the rest of your life what would you pick?

5) Are you currently working on any new books?
Yes, quite a few! Along with THE WAY THE LIGHT BENDS, my friend Laurie Morrison and I have a Middle-Grade book coming out this April called EVERY SHINY THING(Amulet/Abrams) and we are working on our second book together. The one we are working on now is about two very different girls brought together at an art camp. I am also working on another YA verse novel about a girl who the reader thinks has been kidnapped, but there is a twist. I also am working on some picture books.


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