Monday, August 15, 2011

Is Starting Over in a New Town Still Believable?

Moving to a new town and starting over has been a theme in thousands of books. A recent (and excellent) YA example is Sarah Dessen’s new book, “What Happened to Goodbye” In it a girl moves every six months due to her father’s job. In every town she takes on a new identity. It all catches up with her in the end because someone stumbles upon her multiple Facebook accounts.

The climax of this book made me wonder: In the social networking age, can authors still use starting over as a believable narrative structure?

I think it’s still possible, but it is a lot harder. Almost anyone can Google you. And, take a good luck at your Facebook friends. You’re probably only about five degrees of separation from anyone. Authors have to get creative to get around this.

What do you think authors can do? Have you read any books that do this well? Tell me in the comments below (don’t forget to leave your email) and you could win “After Obsession” by Carrie Jones & Steven Wedel. It’s a great twist on the paranormal themes that abound.


  1. I do think it's possible. I myself lived that kind of life, moving from place to place, and no one really found out anything about my "past lives" unless I told them. Part of it came from using a different name around certain groups of people, and part of it was because I moved from Philadelphia to the Philippines and now I'm in Canada. It can get weird sometimes, but I like being able to start fresh. :)


  2. From experience of moving around our state (Western Australia) - it doesnt take much to move and yet somehow already know people or know of friends of people in a town - be it large or small. so add in the internet and you are instantly connected to many more. I don't think authors can really get away with identity re-creations anymore - unless of course their story is based in a time prior to social networking!!!