Monday Musings | Co-written Books

Burn For Burn Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian Book Cover Co-Written Book

Source: Goodreads

Today I want to talk about something that I’m not too familiar with: Co-written books. I sometimes come across books that are written by two authors (such as the Burn For Burn series pictured above by Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian) and wonder what the reading experience is like for these books. Do you ever notice a tonal shift? Is it exactly the same as reading a book by a single author?

I have only read one co-written book in my life and it was for a class in university. To be honest, I don’t remember what the title of the book was or who the authors were… but I do remember feeling fixated with figuring out how the process of co-writing that book was and how the authors made everything cohesive. I’m sure there are many different ways to present collaborative work, but interestingly, the book that I read for university actually revealed to the readers which author wrote what part. It was fascinating to see if I could distinguish the literary voices of the respective authors and analyze what each author brought to the table.

Since then, I’ve kind of shied away from reading co-written books, though I’m not exactly sure why. I think maybe it was because I wasn’t very enamored with the university book. So, my friends, I’m coming to you (again!). Are there any co-written works that I should know about and read? I really want to expand my reading and what better way to do that than push myself out of my comfort zone and read something completely different? If you have any recommendations, I would love to hear them!

Have you read any co-written books? Do you read them differently than books written by a single author, or do you tend to over-analyze like I do?

15 thoughts on “Monday Musings | Co-written Books

  1. Sandra says:

    Recently, I read a book of short mystery/thriller stories called Faceoff. Each of these stories was written by two authors, using characters that are familiar to each author and putting them together. I honestly could not tell that there were two authors writing each story. They were seamless and not disjointed at all. I have read a few co-authored books, don’t remember the titles or authors right now, but I never felt like they were worse than a book written by one author. To me, a good story is a good story, no matter how many people write them. Oh, just remembered, Stephen King and Peter Straub co-wrote a couple of great stories.

  2. Naomi says:

    I have never read a book that has more than one author (not to my knowledge, anyway), so I’ll be as interested as you to see if anyone has any suggestions. Rick recently reviewed a book on his blog (Another Book Blog), called Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and Dave Levithan. He recommends it.

    • kmn04books says:

      Oh yes! I’ve heard about that around the blogosphere. I might have to check it out! I haven’t read anything from either of them. Thanks for the suggestion!

  3. Milliebot says:

    I can’t say that I’ve read too many, but I certainly don’t shy away from them. Most recently I read Beautiful Creatures – personally I didn’t really notice a shift in tone, but I wasn’t looking for one either. I didn’t really care for the book however. One book I really love, Good Omens, is written by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett and it’s awesome.

    • kmn04books says:

      I’ve heard a lot of good things about Good Omens… I think I might have to pick that one up first. That’s too bad that you didn’t enjoy Beautiful Creatures; I think I might pass on that one then. Thanks for your feedback!

      • Milliebot says:

        No problem! I actually read books one and two of the beautiful creatures series – tried to give it a chance, but the story was all over the place.

      • M. says:

        Trying to reply to Milliebot’s second comment down below, but it doesn’t have a reply button – I’m in total agreement about both BC and GO. I thought about trying to read the second book in the BC series, but I kept putting it off and putting it off and eventually realized that, well, I just didn’t *want* to read it! I’m always surprised by how much people seem to love it when I thought it was just so underwhelming. I thought of another book I forgot to mention in my original comment – These Broken Stars which was also co-written. Another book the blogosphere went CRAZY for, but I found to be mediocre. Better than BC, for sure, but really didn’t live up to the hype. No weirdness in terms of it being co-written though, just not my brand of vodka.

  4. rivercityreading says:

    I read The Tilted World by Tom Franklin and Beth Ann Fennelly last year and really loved it. The bonus is that they’re married – he’s an author and she’s a poet.

  5. M. says:

    This is something I’ve been encountering a lot over the last year or so. First with Beautiful Creatures (which I did not at all like, but not because it had two authors), then with Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan, which was better. Then came another book co-authored by David Levithan – this time with John Green – Will Grayson, Will Grayson. This one I loved – the fact that it was split into two characters, each written by a different author really added depth to the characters, and I loved the story. There was also Roomies, which did a good job of the dual authors, though I wasn’t super crazy about the book overall.
    But my all-time favourite co-authored novel (which is also my all-time favourite novel) is Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett. This one isn’t switching between two characters written by different authors – it’s a cohesive novel. I didn’t notice any inconsistencies in tone, and I think this is my favourite book written by either author, including their solo stuff (though I’ve never even made it through one of Pratchett’s, so I can’t really judge). It’s hilarious, and I think the two upped their game in working together. Definite success.

    • kmn04books says:

      So funny! You and Milliebot above both disliked Beautiful Creatures and loved Good Omens! So I think I’m going to start with Good Omens…. I like that it’s cohesive and consistent. And I love that you described it as “hilarious”. I definitely love a good laugh! Thanks for your recs!

  6. Charleen says:

    I certainly don’t shy away from co-authored books; In fact, one of my favorite series is co-written (the Pendergast series by Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child). But I do notice myself blaming the co-writer factor if I don’t like a book (not by these two, because I know their work, but when I pick up a new pairing). It might have nothing to do with it, but especially if it’s an author I enjoy suddenly working with someone I’m not familiar with, I think it’s only natural to wonder. Someone else mentioned Stephen King and Peter Straub, but when I read their book The Talisman, I didn’t love it… so it’s easy to say, well, maybe I’m just not a fan of Straub.

    • kmn04books says:

      Oh, wow! The Pendergast series is a long series! That’s awesome that they were able to partner up for so long. I sometimes wonder how the dynamic is and if it’s much more difficult to write a co-authored book (let alone series!). These comments definitely make me want to pick up a few of these books though, because it sounds like I’m missing out on some really great reads. Thanks for your input!

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