Book List: Cameos

While Adele was regaling us with stories from her American visit, I was intrigued by one of the talks she went to titled ‘Literary Friendships’. I was struck anew by the regard authors hold for other authors. The following is a list of books that are interconnected in different ways.

Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson, Just Listen by Sarah Dessen and Some Girls Are by Courtney Summers

Speak is one of those novels that really sticks with the reader – and authors are readers too. Some Girls Are pays homage to Speak, and the scene where Miranda is sexually assaulted, by mirroring it in the first scene of the book. That scene is used as the spark for the rest of the plot. Just Listen has a similar sexual assault scene at a party. Much more muted than Speak and Some Girls Are, it still manages to retain Speak’s message and tone.


I think it speaks to how moving and essential Speak (especially that scene) is. It’s been brought back to life in all of these literary variations. I’m so glad the message is still being talked about and that each of the above titles offers a slightly different tone and reaction by the characters. It’s also interesting to see the many variations of the social fallout from such an attack. In Some Girls Are the sexual assault against the main character is used as a platform to begin an extreme and escalating bullying campaign.



Tithe Series by Holly Black and The Mortal Instruments Series by Cassandra Clare

These two literary friends cheekily wrote in scenes containing characters from the others’ work. The band Clary listens to ‘Stepping Razor’ appears in Tithe as a secondary character’s (Ellen) band. Clary and Jace also meet the Unseelie Queen, while Kaylee in Tithe catches glimpses of Jace and Clary throughout the series.



Sarah Dessen

Sarah Dessen often has previous main characters make cameos in her later books, due to her setting. Dessen has her stories centered in the fictional town of Lakeview, and her characters will often vacation in Colby. They aren’t always known to our main protagonist of the moment, so sometimes it’s just a description or the way the character thinks and you are left with an ‘I know that voice’ feeling.


Melina Marchetta

Melina tricks me every time.  Don’t get me wrong, I knew The Piper’s Son was a companion to Saving Francesca, but did you know that Ben (the violinist) from Jellicoe features in Piper’s? (He is Justine’s crush). One of the mullet brothers ends up dating the kitchen hand who Tom works with at the pub.  Jonah’s little brother, Danny (Jellicoe), is the protagonist of The Gorgon In The Gully.

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  1. Laura says:

    Holly Black also put Cassie Clares Jace into her Curseworkers series. He appears a few time at Cassels school where he comes across as a bit of a stoner. He spends a while watching a carrot rotate in a microwave in one of the books. I love these little nods to other books you can pick up!

  2. narmstrong says:

    Haven’t yet made my way around to the Curseworkers series, but when I do I will be on the look out!

    It is so much fun to see how other authors ‘view’ characters not of their making.

    Love it!

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