From IndieReader.com’s review:
Contessa is an enthralling work of young adult fiction, offering poignancy and depth in dealing with the adult themes of regret, guilt, poverty, and serious relationships. Female young adult readers, especially, will be able to connect with this novel, as they mature and “walk that fine line between child and adult.”
A few month’s ago, I entered Lost and Found and Contessa into IndieReader.com’s Discovery Awards. I didn’t think I’d win, but I was told I’d get reviews for any books I entered. I wanted to put those books out there to test the waters.
Yesterday, I found out one of them received 5 stars, and was therefore marked with the IndieReader Approved stamp. I knew it would be Contessa – not that I know it’s that good, but I know for certain that Lost and Found isn’t perfect. I can’t expect it to be, either. It was the first book I ever wrote, and today, more than four years after I started writing it, I see changes that could be made. That being said, I love Lost and Found, and I love Nate, and I have no regrets about what I’ve put out there for you, the readers.
When it was confirmed that it was Contessa, I was pretty proud of my little girl. I was anxious to see the review, but I’d have to wait 24 hours before it was posted. Still, I wasn’t prepared for the compliments that review contained. Here’s the link to the whole interview on IndieReader, but this part really touches me deeply:
One of the most compelling qualities of this novel is the intricacy and depth with which Otto develops her characters. Free from dull archetypes, each of these people harbors his or her own unique complexities and idiosyncrasies, filling the work with emotional appeal rarely found in young adult fiction. In addition to humanizing detail, Otto also gives her characters smooth, realistic dialogue. This element helps the reader connect to the characters by making them feel like real people instead of simply literary constructs, and livens many scenes with humor.
I pride myself on two things: character development and dialogue… and it feels good to see it recognized by a book critic. Even with its flaws, I think the reviewer would find the same depth of characters in Emi Lost & Found, too.
This just blows me away, and not only that… it’s invigorating me at a time when I haven’t been able to settle on which character to write, and on a day that I’ve been struggling to decide whether or not I can leave my 9-5 job. It’s perfect timing, really, because it makes me want to get back to Livvy and the rest of the Holland clan, and get her second book cleaned up and ready to go. I think this is just the push I need to get back on track.
On Facebook, one day before I found out about this, I’d posted a status about needing to get back on track. Someone up there listens to me… and I truly believe all things happen for a reason.