The figurative language of Vicki Grant

Reading time: Less than 1 minute

I like to share interesting pieces of figurative language I encounter in my reading. I write today about a series of similes from young adult author Vicki Grant….

I don’t typically read a lot of young adult fiction. I make a happy exception for John Green, who is a remarkable writer. And now, I need to start making an exception for Vicki Grant as well.

The author of the charming and very funny book 36 Questions That Changed My Mind About You, Grant is a Canadian writer (based in Halifax) who has written 14 books, many of them bestsellers.  She’s been been translated into 15 languages and earned recognition from the American Library Association, the Canadian Library Association and The Canadian Children’s Book Centre.

I was in Halifax for work recently and a friend and colleage recommended that I read Grant’s latest book on the plane ride home. (Thanks, Kelly!) The story of two young adults participating in a psychology experiement, 36 Questions addresses whether love can be engineered between two random strangers. Warning: much of the book appears written as straightforward dialogue, with no additional narration. I did not find this the least bit offputting because Grant has such a fine ear for dialogue. But the book won’t be everyone’s cup of tea.

Still, Grant also has a penchant for figurative language. Here are my favourite examples:

  • She put her arms around her bookbag as if it were a toddler in need of comfort.
  • She put her hand over her mouth and made the type of whining noise dogs make when they need to go outside.
  • He was a terrible driver. He hunched over the wheel, knuckles white, foot randomly moving between brake and accelerator like he was playing honky-tonk on an old piano.