By Steve Weddle
So we're chatting on Twitter last week about adults reading young adult books. MOCKINGJAY had just come out at midnight and folks were excited.
It's possible that if you search the basement of DSD, you'll find an archived post in which I might have made what could be considered a "snide" remark about adults who read the TWILIGHT books about the 120-year-old guy seducing a teenage girl.
But many adults read young adult books. OK. As DSD's Jay Stringer said, "A good book is a good book." Of course, he should know. He wrote OLD GOLD.
I asked folks for a good recommendation for a young adult book that I might like. I said I'd listen to suggestions and pick one and then report back about how cool it was -- or wasn't.
Kent Gowran mentioned Robert R. McCammon's Boy's Life.
McCammon says this at his site:
What it's about:
"Self-pitying, alcoholic widower Peter Jernigan, unable to communicate with his confused teenage son and emotionally distanced from his live-in lover, narrates this depressing first novel."
Well I like the sound of that. I don't know from the work of David Gates, but this looks promising. No idea how this is young adult, but 'tis intriguing.
Hilary Davidson mentioned Sophie Littlefield's upcoming BANISHED. Now, I don't need much convincing to read a book from Sophie Littlefield. Of course, for those who could use a push in that direction, here's an excerpt you'll dig.
John Hornor Jacobs has a YA book, which I'll of course read because his THIS DARK EARTH is such a great novel.
Allan Guthrie said Jess Mowry is worth looking up. He suggested WAY PAST COOL, which looked good and has an excerpt here.
THE NEW RULES OF HIGH SCHOOL by Blake Nelson was the suggestion of JimmyTheWorm. According to the Booklist write-up at Amazon, "High-achieving students may question whether Max's voice and lifestyle really belong to a Yale-bound kid, but many teens will recognize the book's rapid dialogue, school politics, and the young man's wandering, often painful ambivalence."
Amy Boggs may or may not have suggested MOCKINGJAY.
Tom Piccirilli said "Try Peter Abrahams's Reality Check or Bullet Point. Very strong, dark YA material. And Robert Cormier, of course, including FADE."
Those who find Cormier's novels bleak, dark, disturbing, and violent will not be disappointed with his latest."
Dave White said THE OUTSIDERS. I think I read that one when I was a kid. I think I liked it. You'd think I'd remember a book with Sodapop and Ponyboy Curtis.
That's the thing, though. I didn't read much young adult when I was a kid. Maybe it wasn't as popular. Maybe it wasn't a genre. Maybe it wasn't capitalized as YA, and I just didn't notice.
I read Salinger. I read Harry Harrison's STAINLESS STEEL RAT books. I read Piers Anthony. I read Dr. Strange comics. I read Spider-Man.
When I was a young adult, science-fiction was young adult. There was fiction on the left-hand side of the Waldenbooks in the mall. There were children's books in the back right corner, along with some "merchandise." In the middle was all of the non-fiction. The biographies. The sports books. Cook books. And along the right-hand side of the store was the science-fiction and fantasy. That's where they kept the Steven Brust, the Isaac Asimov.
I still can't imagine a noir hero in a YA book, though. Someone who loses. Someone who doesn't [SPOILER ALERT] defeat Voldermort at the end of the book, or whatever the YA equivalent is.
Is it possible that Young Adult Noir even exists? I mean, yeah, there's the Glass family in Salinger's works, but anyone else?
Forget the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew. Or maybe don't. I don't know. Young Adult mysteries. Thrillers. Noir. OK, DSD friends and neighbors. What have you got?