City of Winnipeg | Libraries

A Thousand Words

By Madeleine

I didn’t plan it but I noticed that I recently read a number of novels where photography played a major role. In the ones that incorporate actual photos they can become an important part of the text.  They might use old photos or take their own.  It can add an interesting dimension to the characters and the story.

everyEvery You, Every Me by David Levithan and Jonathan Farmer
Photographer Jonathan Farmer sent the photos in this book to David Levithan who created a story out of them. Evan’s friend and Jack’s girlfriend, Ariel, was taken to an institution after she suffered a psychotic breakdown.  She was the only real connection between the two boys and now that she is gone from their lives, they are both trying to move on.  When Evan starts receiving mysterious photos and threats from an unknown sender Jack reluctantly gets involved, and both of them discover that they didn’t know as much about Ariel as they previously thought.

holdHold Still by Nina Lacour
Caitlin’s best friend, Ingrid, committed suicide shortly before the end of their first year of high school.  Her parents take her out of the city for the summer to help ease her mind but when she returns to school all her sadness and feelings of abandonment come rushing back.  Her old photography teacher, who had a special connection with her and Ingrid, seems afraid to talk to her now.  One day in Ingrid’s room she finds Ingrid’s journal.  Caitlin had been aware that Ingrid had mental health issues but so much of Ingrid’s inner life had remained a mystery to her.  Drawings and entries from Ingrid’s journal are interspersed throughout the book and although there are no actual photos, Caitlin provides descriptions.  The subject matter is heavy but the story leaves a message of hope with the reader.

exposedExposed by Kimberly Marcus
Sixteen-year-old Liz has always prided herself in seeing the truth through her skills in photography.  One night she gets into a fight with her best friend Kate because she can’t understand why Kate won’t try to realise her dream of being a dancer.  Kate leaves the room, and the next day, she refuses to talk to Liz.  At first Liz thinks it is only because of her fight, but Liz learns that something happened between Kate and one of her family members that night that leaves damage and heartache among Liz’s family and friends.  Liz has trouble believing what happened at first but is determined to get to the truth, even if it means finding out some terrible things about someone she loves.

peculiarMiss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
You may have heard of this title as it has been made into a film that is being released soon.  The unique part of this series is that the author used creepy vintage photos and created a narrative around them.  After a mysterious tragedy in his family, Jacob Portman is taken to Wales by his father.  Jacob’s grandfather had told him tales of growing up in a Welsh orphanage for unusually gifted children during World War II.  The stories his grandfather told him were fantastical and as he grew older, Jacob had more and trouble believing him.  When he arrives in Wales, however, he starts to learn that maybe his grandfather had been telling the truth after all.


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