I don’t often have the urge to seek out a young adult novel, but this month has been one of them. I’m pleased to say that I really enjoyed the two I chose. After deals with a teenage mother, and An Abundance of Katherines deals with a genius teenager dealing with yet another break up. Both novels felt original, and gave me, as an adult, a sense of satisfaction as I read them. After was by far the more emotional, and Katherines was most amusing.
I was also pleased that neither had unnecessary or inappropriate language, drug use, or sex, things that would cause me to steer away from Young Adult novels. (Obviously, After had sex, but it wasn’t unnecessary or inappropriate. I’d say the same for the language in Katherines.)
After by Amy Efaw
Fifteen-year-old star soccer player Devon Davenport has apparently tossed her newborn infant into a garbage bag, the most unlikely person to do so. By writing in present tense, Amy Efaw captures the panic, the confusion, and the denial of a young teen mother and makes it real for the reader. In her afterward, Ms Efaw mentions she wrote this book to try explain just why some teen mothers did leave babies in dumpster. Especially given that premise, it was an emotional journey to be a part of. Fantastically written and fascinating in its psychological and judicial implications, After (Viking, 2009) frankly addresses the issues of adulthood through a young adults’ eyes. Is a fifteen-year-old truly responsible?
An Abundance of Katherines by John Green
Colin Singleton is distressed not just from having been dumped by a girl named Katherine for the nineteenth time but also because he feels he’s never had a special “eureka” moment. Since he’d been dubbed a child prodigy at age 2, he worries he’s lost his chance now that he’s age seventeen. To recover from his break-up, he and his lazy friend go on a road trip and Colin works on a special theorem that will describe his nineteen failed relationships. I loved the light tone of the book, I loved the mathematics (which were beyond me but apparently accurate), and I love the themes. Although Colin is a genius, he is truly an everyman. I don’t read many young adult novels, but I loved how Colin was normal. For those teens (or adults!) wanting to come to terms with their past or wondering what the future holds, An Abundance of Katherines (Dutton, 2006) would fit the ticket. It was wonderful!
It will probably be a year before I read another Young Adult novel. Nevertheless, which one would you suggest?