I’ve been tasked with introducing Girl Saves Boy. Now, I know the importance of a good introduction. Call me fickle, but I’ve picked up books in stores, read the first page and put them back down because they just didn’t grab me. As a writer, I’ve seen and admired the power of a gripping beginning, which has the power to shape the way a reader interacts with a story.
And today, I’m not just introducing a story, I’m introducing a flesh-and-blood person, someone I’ve known for a little while now.
I first met Steph Bowe two years ago, and by “met”, I mean, I sent emails from Bronte, and she replied to them from Victoria. She had won a competition and a copy of my book. If I had to define our relationship in the beginning, I was the author and she was the fan. She had a blog, which she eventually directed me to when she wrote a review of my book. I read that post, and liked it, not only because of the nice things she said about me, but because of the way she said them. There was something so real about her voice, and I kept coming back to her blog, long after she wrote about me. And with every single post, I got to know her a little bit more.
Despite the fact that, at this point, we hadn’t met, I felt our relationship change. I was no longer just the author, and she was no longer just the fan. We had, over time, simply become friends. And as her friend, I have watched her grow into a confident young writer, whose work manages to balance an almost lyrical quality with a pure honesty. Having now read her novel, I’m proud to say that our relationship has once again been redefined.
She’s the author, and I’m the fan.
Which puts a lot of pressure on me and my introduction. I have compress my admiration of Steph into an intro that’ll, hopefully, positively shape what, for many of you will be your first Steph Bowe experience. I’ve always been one to shy away from mentioning anything when talking about books for fear of spoiling something, no matter how miniscule a detail. But what I will say is: a lot of you will come to Girl Saves Boy as ‘the book written by the sixteen-year-old’. And I think that’s selling it short.
Don’t get me wrong, for a book written by a sixteen-year-old, it is something remarkable, a masterful achievement. But just as there’s more to Steph than being sixteen, there’s more to Girl Saves Boy than being a book written by a sixteen-year-old.
It’s difficult to explain, but by the time I reached the back cover, I had this overbearing sense that I hadn’t read a book so much as I had experienced a beginning. The beginning of a career that will no doubt span many years, many acclaimed books, many in-store appearances, many signings, and many introductions.
There is the promise of so much between these covers, and as a reader, Steph’s certainly got me gripped.