It occurred to me that I really haven’t a clue about what teen fiction currently looks like.
I know what it used to look like, in the late 90s and early 2000s when I was, indeed, a teen. But now? I know of The Hunger Games. I know of Twilight. And that’s it really.
For the record, I have seen The Hunger Games, but not read the books. I read the Twilight books and saw a couple of the movies. I am sure I will love The Hunger Games. I struggled with the Twilight series, for the often stated reasons, but admit that the books have their merits.
Anyway my point is that as a potential teen fiction author, what are my potential audience reading? I intend to explore the local bookshop soon, but yesterday made do with BigW, an Australian department store.
As expected, most of what I saw was fantasy. I found it so dull to be staring at blurb after blurb of vampires, underworld guardians and teens gripped with the responsibilities of either Buffy-like mortals or Buffy-like immortals.
Don’t get me wrong, I love supernatural themes in books, and even more so in television. Growing up, I lived for the show Charmed. And when older I sweated over waiting for new episodes of Supernatural. But in my readings, I prefer variety, not to mention a good dose of reality as well. All these books just looked the same.
So I dug around and looked for books that weren’t so obviously fantasy. I was tricked a couple of times but eventually settled on three to try reading. I only bought one, but will go back for the others on pay day.
First up, Rise: An eve novel, by Anna Carey.
This is the one I purchased and it turns out this book is the 3rd in a trilogy…woops. But after reading the first chapter it looks like it will still be readable as a stand alone, and potentially enjoyable. It’s set in dystopian New America.
Second, Eve and Adam by Michael Grant & Katherine Applegate.
This book really caught my eye by the cover, and the blurb sucked me right in. I can’t wait to go back and get it…it looks like its exactly what I would enjoy reading. The premise is a little hard to explain without lifting directly from Amazon, so I suggest checking it out there. It has mixed reviews, and that just makes it all the more intriguing to me.
Finally, Erebos, by Ursula Poznanski.
The premise of this book immediately reminded me of one I had to read at school, Space Demons by Gillian Rubinstein (I had to use some Google trickery to find the name of this long forgotten book). Both books are centered around video games. In Space Demons the protagonist enters the video game (as in Tron), in Erebos, there is no such cross over, however the game impacts on the real world. Space Demons, unbelievably, was written in 1985, and I recall not liking it very much in school. I found it very unsettling but can’t remember why. I wonder if I will find Erebos equally as challenging. Time will tell.
Speaking of books I was made to read at school, another one I remembered recently was Z for Zachariah. And I remembered hating it. It is a book about a post nuclear war in which a lone teen, believing she is the last survivor, is confronted by an outside character. I remember the isolation presented giving me a feeling of dread, and the ominous visitor giving me a feeling of fear. But now, as an adult, I have read that if the book is read later in life it is often interpreted and viewed completely differently. So I borrowed it from a friend and am giving it another go. I’ll let you all know of the outcome!
And now, for a competition! It’s just a little something, which I thought of while taking the pics for this post. You will see a little face peeking out of the book in the first pic and I actually have a few of these rather unique bookmarks spare.
These are from the Royal Institute for Deaf and Blind Children in Australia. On one side is the alphabet embossed in braille, on the other is the alphabet spelled out in Auslan (Australian Sign Language). How cool!
I was given a bunch of these when I studied Auslan briefly a few years ago and still have a few left. Three lucky winners will receive TWO double sided bookmarks. Yay!
To enter, simply comment below with a writerly or readerly share, be it a blog I and other readers might enjoy, a website full of resources, or a YA / teen book you recommend 🙂
I will post to anywhere! Even if you will never use the Auslan alphabet it is certainly an interesting and unique bookmark.
Winners will be announced 12 noon Monday 22 April, AEST.
Thanks for reading!