A geeky girl living in the big city, making her way, the only way she knows how... no wait, that's The Dukes of Hazzard. Who am I again? Oh yeah, a pop culture obsessed writer, publishing person, and occasional nerd. And I'm getting married. I talk about that, too.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Catching up (on my reading)

So I did a bit of traveling this weekend, out to Denver and back, and while pictures will follow of our windy trip down to Colorado Springs and the Garden of the Gods, as well as of Doyce's adventures buying a tux, what I'm writing about TODAY was something I read in the one of the three Entertainment Weeklys I caught up on during the trip.

First of all, I was thrilled to see a review of BEFORE I DIE, a YA novel that wasn't by Meg Cabot (It's by Jenny Downham). No offense to Meg, who I have on good authority is an totally cool person full of the awesomeness, but there's a lot more YA out there, as she'd be the first person to tell you. So, yay, YA review! Then the reviewer says this:
Unfortunately, Downham's publisher has handicapped Before I Die by labeling it a young-adult novel, thus ghettoizing this gem to the back of most bookstores. It's a shame, because this book is vastly superior to most so-called adult novels with high-school-age protagonists that have been embraced by the literary establishment. (Curtis Sittenfeld's promising but conventional debut, Prep, springs to mind.)
I'm sorry, but "handicapped"???? I have to disagree.

There's a reason I represent YA and middle grade fiction, and that's a strong belief that the books we read as highly receptive kids and teens have a much more lasting impression on our lives than adult novels do. As for "ghettoizing" the book in the back of the bookstore, though I would love to see more teen books on the front tables at B&N, I can't fault the stores for putting YA books in a place where kids know to reach for them.

I do a lot of reading in my job, as you might imagine, and a good portion of it is reading manuscripts that someone thinks are YA, just because the protagonist is a teenager. Trust me, that's not the only requirement. If David Fickling, a brilliant UK editor whose eponymous imprint is publishing Before I Die thinks it's YA -- I trust him. Prep, for all it's being about teens, was not YA -- and though the literary elite lauded her, I don't know any kids who read the book.

Anyway, I'm looking forward to reading Before I Die -- and the many other wonderful YA books on my to-be-read shelves -- long before I'll pick up the next great literary adult novel.

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