The Biased Bibliophile‘s Spoiler-Free Review of You: The Story
Publication Date: 16 May 2023
Genre: Nonfiction/Craft Book
Rating: 5 stars
#1 New York Times bestselling author Ruta Sepetys is known for creating vivid characters and harrowing plots. After five award-winning works of historical fiction and countless hours of meticulous research, she can affirm that the secret to strong writing is embedded within your life experience.
You: The Story is a powerful how-to book for aspiring writers that encourages you to look inward and excavate your own memories in order to discover the authentic voices and compelling details that are waiting to be put on the page. Masterfully weaving in humorous and heartfelt stories from her own life that illustrate an aspect of the craft of writing (such as plot, character development, or dialogue), Sepetys then inspires readers with a series of writing prompts and exercises.
Perfect for fans of Burn After Writing and Bird by Bird, You: The Story awakens the emerging writer and reveals that with some reflection, curiosity, and courage, you have a story to tell.
Review of You: The Story
Who doesn’t absolutely adore Ruta Sepetys? As a huge fan of her five YA historical fiction novels, I was so excited to find out that she was releasing a craft book on writing. You: The Story gives writers tips for crafting a story inspired by their life experiences. As some of you may know, I recently launched my freelance editing career, and as a developmental editor, I found this book filled with wonderful knowledge and exercises.
The feature that I enjoyed the most was the personal tone of the book. Sepetys shares her own life experiences (which are utterly wild in the best possible way) to demonstrate how to add meaning and depth to writing. Her stories were both hysterical and heartrending (look at me using those “H” words she talks about!). I found myself laughing and crying at quite a few of them.
Additionally, I appreciated that the book was written for people who don’t necessarily have experience with writing or editing. It covers introductory material for a wide range of topics, including plot, dialogue, setting, etc. This made it very easy to apply Sepetys’ techniques and makes it the perfect book for editors to use with their clients.
Finally, the layout of the book was well-thought-out. There are writing exercises throughout that help writers practice the techniques Sepetys discusses. There are also recaps for each chapter, which summarize the main ideas nicely. As a whole, the formatting was very user-friendly.
All in all, I cannot recommend this book enough! Whether you’re an aspiring author or an editor, this book has essential information on the writing process. The fact that it encourages writers to draw inspiration from their lives only adds to its power. Honestly, I’ve never really wanted to write a book myself, but after reading this one, it’s something that I would consider doing in the future. In the meantime, I will certainly reference You: The Story with my clients and use it to help guide them.