Martha Elizabeth Bray was born on March 11, 1964. This novelist from America is best known for her works that include novels for young adults. Some of her notable works include Gemma Doyle Trilogy, the Diviners series, and other novels and short stories.
Libba Bray was born in Alabama. After migrating to a few other cities, her family finally settled in Denton, Texas. She came from a relatively humble background, with her father being a preacher and her mother an English teacher.
After she graduated from high school at the age of 18 years, she met with a major accident. She severely injured her face and had to undergo several critical surgeries. She lost her left eye and was finally implanted with an artificial eye, after which it took almost 6 years for her to fully recover. During this period, her writing was what gave her the strength and inspiration to press on. Right from her early age, she loved writing and when she was in her 5th grade, she wrote her first short story.
Education and background:
Libba Bay graduated as a Theatre major from the University of Texas, Austin. She started out as a writer by writing plays. Three of her plays were eventually produced. Eventually, she didn’t find her career as a playwright fruitful so she switched her career to publishing and book advertising for brief periods. During her early days in publishing, she met Barry Goldblatt, a literary agent. Two years later, they were married. Her husband then encouraged her to take up young adult novel writing.She wrote three books under a pseudonym for a book packager. In 2003, her first novel, A Great and Terrible Beauty was published.
First novel- A great and Terrible Beauty, 2003:
Gemma Doyle, a 16-year-old has visions that come true. While Gemma is in the Bombay market with her mother, she spots a mysterious messenger relay some information to her mother. This leaves her mother terrified. Gemma is annoyed by her mother’s covertness. She runs away but she then gets a terrifying vision of her mother’s death and that too turns out to be true. She learns that her mother had committed suicide and she is then sent back to Spence, a boarding school in England.
Doyle finds it difficult to fit in initially as she is ignored and left out even by her own roommate Ann. But then, she finds that the school’s most popular girl Felicity is hiding a secret. She promises to keep her secret and in turn wins her friendship. Felicity, her friend Pippa, Gemma and her roommate Ann then form a clique.
Gemma continues to have her terrible visions. She then soon finds that Kartik, a young Indian man had followed her to England. He warns her to fight off and clock her visions. Gemma then finds a mysterious book with dark secrets. What do the girls do with the book? What new powers do they get? What are the dangers that accompany such power? That is what this book is all about.
Libba Bray, in this book, follows the life of Gemma Bray. She forms a tale, about what unusual powers could do to four girls. She also talks about how these powers change their lives.
Second Novel- Rebel Angels, 2005:
This book is a sequel to Libba Bray’s first novel. In this book, she talks about how a rebel angel lies within even an unpredictable beautiful young woman.
Kartik is all set to assist Gemma in finding the Temple to bind the released magic back. He also has instructions, to kill her after that.
Gemma Doyle is waiting for her Christmas holidays. She has great plans to explore the city with her friends but in the midst of all the fun and frolic, she again gets vivid visions. She gets visions of something inexplicably terrible happening to three girls. When she leaves to her family house in London, she feels that she is followed by a mysterious stranger.
The girls then set to find the Temple. They are united with the deceased Pippa in the other realm. Gemma’s father’s illness worsens and he is sent to a rehabilitation center. The crew consisting of Felicity, Ann Kartik along with Gemma then works their way to locate the Temple.
After some interesting twists and turns in the plot, Gemma finds the Circe. Libba Bray then talks about how Emma deals with the Circe. What does Gemma do with the released magic? What happens to Pippa? The story ends, answering all these questions.
Film adaptations of Libba Bray’s novels:
Three years after Libba Bray’s first novel was published, there were talks about making it into a film. In 2006, the production company, Icon Productions announced the initiation of the film project on A Great and Terrible Beauty which was proposed to be directed by Charles Sturridge. However, some unforeseen events lead to the drop of the project. Libba Bray announced on her page that Icon Production no more owned the rights to make that film.
Awards and accolades:
All three novels in the Gemma Doyle trilogy were New York Times bestsellers. They also won a lot of other awards accolades. A lot of book critics had showered praises for the author soon after her first novel was published. Her books were instant hits among the audience. The American Library Association also recognized the book Going Bovine with the Michael L. Printz Award.
The author currently lives in Brooklyn with her husband, son and their cats. Libba Gray is good friends with other renowned authors like Maureen Johnson, Cassandra Clare, Holly Black and John Green. She is also a part of a YA author rock band that goes by the name Tiger Beat. The other authors in the Tiger Beat are Barnabas Miller, Daniel Ehrenhaft, and Natalie Standiford. She may have retired from active authorship, but her books go on to inspire generations.Book Series In Order » Authors » Libba Bray