This is the NPR list of the “100 best teen novels of all time”; like many other people and is inevitable with these kinds of lists I am a little sceptical about the choices. Even though some books which are ‘too young’ or ‘too old’ have been removed, there are still plenty there that aren’t YA – e.g. Lord of the Rings, Hitch Hiker’s Guide, Fahrenheit 451, Anne of Green Gables, The Princess Bride, Flowers for Algernon, The Call of the Wild, Treasure Island, Dune, My Sister’s Keeper, To Kill A Mockingbird… Yes, some of these may be read mostly by teens, or especially liked by teens, along with things like Pride and Prejudice, but they’re not teen novels. One of the things people trying to write YA often do is think back to ‘what I read when I was 13′ instead of ‘what booksellers and publishers market specifically to 13-year-olds.’ I also think many of the more recent titles will fade into obscurity, and yes The Fault In Our Stars is the book I have recommended more than any other in the past six months but I’m not sure it’s a top-five one of all time. Nevertheless, it is a nifty list and worth checking out.
It’s WFMAD (Write for Fifteen Minutes A Day) over at Laurie Halse Anderson’s blog again, which is always a treat. LHA writes extraordinary YA books and her thoughts on writing (and life) are always inspiring.
Something that often comes up when writing for young people is the idea of ‘duty of care’ – Justine Larbalestier talks about this in relation to YA. (And rightly notes that it is the job of people in the young peoples’ lives rather than writers. I do have a ‘is this suitable for teenagers?’ brain; it gets switched on when I teach them, not when I write for them.)