Strange Girl by Christopher Pike ~ Review and Interview




Strange Girl by 
Hardcover304 pages
Expected publication: November 17th 2015 
by Simon Pulse
Source: ARC from Publisher
Rating: 3.5 Out of 5 Stars

Preorder - Strange Girl:



Goodreads Description:

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Christopher Pike comes a brand-new fascinating and seductive new novel about a girl with a mysterious ability—but one that carries an unimaginable cost.

From the moment Fred met Aja, he knew she was different. And she was.


Aja had a gift. But her gift came with a price.


After a shocking sequence of events, Fred must look back at their relationship, and piece together all of their shared moments, so he can finally understand Aja’s precious gift…and its devastating repercussions.

Review:

Thank you Simon and Schuster for providing me with an ARC for review. This in no way affected my opinion.

Aja is the new girl in town that seems just a little off. Fred is however drawn to her and they instantly have a connection. Aja seems to know more then he should and her family is keeping secrets. Can Fred trust that Aja is just someone good that has come into his life?

Strange Girl was not what I expected it to be from the title and the synopsis. I thought it was going to be more Science Fiction. Once I got over what I thought it was going to be and got in to what it was I was moved and enjoyed the journey. This is a very spiritual and thought provoking journey through life and finding the meaning of it.

Pike dives into all the feelings people face when confronted with the unknown and what they will choose to believe. Can someone show faith in something they can not see or touch? This book does have some religious undertones which usually turn me off. However Pike uses them to make one ponder and not in an overbearing way more philosophical.

Strange Girl was beautifully written contemporary fiction with a twist. I have never read any of Christopher Pike's work and am so excited to pick up more by him. 



Interview with Author Christopher Pike



1. Did you have to do any research while writing Strange Girl?
      
This question would be much more intriguing to answer if I knew the person reading this interview had already read the book. Many of the ideas at the basis of the novel actually took me years to research. In a sense my whole life has been a preparation to write Strange Girl. The book deals with many of the deep questions in life. Who am I? Where did I come from? What am I doing on this planet? Do I have a soul? Is there life after death?
     
Strange Girl is a YA novel. It’s a love story. And yet, more important, it’s a “mystical mystery.” That’s why I mention the above questions. That’s why I needed my whole life to prepare me to write the book.

2. What was your favorite read in 2015?

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon. I know it’s considered a “chick book” and it’s true my girlfriend got me to read it. But it was so brilliantly written. I love time travel books, and Diana Gabaldon did such an incredible job of transporting the reader to another time. My mother grew up in Scotland and I’ve been to the Scottish Highlands so the backdrop of the novel appealed to me.

3. What was your favorite scene to write in Strange Girl?
        
There were two scenes that I found very moving to write. The first scene was about a quarter of a way into the novel. My hero, Fred, has been puzzled why a certain teacher at his school hates the new girl in town -- Aja, Fred’s new girlfriend and the “Strange Girl” the novel is based around. Fred goes to speak to the teacher but ends up talking to her in the cemetery where her son is buried. The loss of the child for the teacher is, of course, the greatest sorrow in her life. However, it turns out that Aja has somehow mysteriously “helped” the teacher heal from that wound.
        
It’s a complex scene and it takes Fred a while to realize the teacher doesn’t hate Aja at all -- she’s afraid of Aja. Afraid to let the pain of her son’s death go. Many people who’ve read the scene end up crying.
        
The hardest scene to write was near the climax of the novel. It’s a scene where Fred’s best friend, Janet, is forced to face her inner demons. I wrote the scene perhaps twenty times before I was finally satisfied with it. There are so many raw emotions at play -- it was hard to balance them all and yet keep the scene real.

4. What is your next project going to be?

That’s a secret! 

5. At what age did you know you wanted to be a writer?
      
 I went to college to become a doctor. I completed the first two years of the pre-med program. I got straight A’s. I was told I had to have a perfect GPA to get into medical school. But along the way I kept writing short stories and I started on a novel -- a really terrible novel! -- and I began to realize that the only thing I loved were books. But getting published -- that was such a wild dream. I eventually became a computer programmer so I’d have something to fall back on in case I never sold a book. I wrote for seven years -- until I was 28 -- before I finally did. Slumber Party -- I was lucky it sold well.

6. Are you a plotter or a pantser? 
       
In the beginning I used to plot my books carefully. Every chapter, every scene -- I knew what was going to happen ahead of time. I wanted it that way. I didn’t want to end up writing page after page that I was never going to use in the final book. But as I’ve gotten older and hopefully wiser I go more with the flow. For example, with Strange Girl, I had no idea who Aja was when she showed up in Fred’s life. She was as much a stranger to me as she was to him. Yet every day I sat to write I knew just enough of what was supposed to happen to write all day. It was like my muse was dictating the book to me chapter by chapter. I know it sounds silly but it’s what happened. I guess that makes me a pantser now.

7. Who’s writing most inspires you?
         
My favorite book of all times was The Lord Of The Rings by Tolkien. I’m sure a lot of people say that. I grew up reading a ton of science fiction. My favorite sci-fi writer was Arthur C. Clarke. I read Childhood’s End in seventh grade and that book just blew me away. It gave me my first glimpse of how powerful and wonderful a great novel could be. I was thrilled when I wrote my seventh book, Remember Me, and began to get fan mail saying that my book had had the same influence on people’s lives. But I do believe with Strange Girl that I’ve finally created a book that is every bit as magical as Remember Me.

8. What do you hope readers will take away from Strange Girl?
         
On the surface Strange Girl is a bittersweet love story. On another level it’s a mystery. Who is Aja? Why do strange things happen around her? Why does nothing appear to bother her? Yet on the deepest level I think Strange Girl is a mystical journey. It forces us to question if we really do believe in God. If we believe we have a soul. I’m hoping most people love the novel but I wouldn’t be surprised if some people hate it. To many the book will be controversial. For me writing the book was perhaps the high point of my life.

9. What TV show is a must for you to watch?
         
I used to be a hardcore Star Trek fan. I watched all the incarnations: The Next Generation; Deep Space Nine; Voyager; Enterprise. Nowadays I enjoy several shows, although I’m bummed out that Justified is over with. Justified never reached a gigantic audience but it had the best writing and acting on TV. Now I watch: The Walking Dead; The Game of Thrones; Homeland; Once Upon A Time; Madame Secretary; The Americans. As far as writing and acting is concerned, I think The Americans might be as good as Justified. Those are two amazing shows.

10. Who is the one author you would love to meet?
        
 I would have loved to have met Arthur C. Clarke when he was alive. But as a bestselling writer in the eighties and nineties I met many famous authors, many who’s books I loved. But I probably shouldn’t name drop.

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