Thursday, November 13, 2008

Go Ask Alice

We are - so everyone says - in the new golden age of young adult literature. And hey, as someone whose YA book is coming out next year and who hopes to sell more of the same, who am I to argue with that assessment. So many brilliant books out there by brilliant writers :: cough - hey, check out the Class of 2k9 website !!:: that I barely have time to read them all or comment on them, much as I try.

But there's one book that just keeps on ticking with teen audiences that wasn't written recently. And that's Go Ask Alice by Anonymous. Read it when I was in high school and found it compelling. MC's downward spiral into drugs and sex and general horridness grabbed then and re-grabs me whenever I pick it up. It's that first person diary narrative. When I was fourteen, I felt like she was talking to me directly. (not that I was doing the things that she was doing exactly, but just that they were definitely available and this was certainly a cautionary tale with a quite unhappy ending. And hey, I came from depressed Russian stock. The people who gave us Anna Karenina and The Brothers Karamazov. My genetic idea of a happy ending was more along the lines of "And then she threw herself in front of the train. But before she did, she made sure to cook dinner for her eight children so at least they shouldn't be hungry at the funeral.")

So here's my discovery lately while the 10th graders have been presenting their book talks this 9 weeks. Go Ask Alice still gets great word of mouth. Kids still dive in and can't put it down. Amidst the Twilight craziness and the talk of whether werewolves or possibly historical fiction will be the next best YA thing (I'm voting for the historical, obviously, since SPARK is a retelling of the Anastasia Romanov's disappearance, but I digress for shameless self promotion except honestly, isn't that why I write this blog?), teens are still picking up that black covered book and telling each other to do the same. They no longer get the song reference of the title, for the most part, and for the most part I waffle about sharing my drug reference knowledge, (it's pills, kiddies, and it's also a reference to Alice in Wonderland and that nasty old Lewis Carroll) but they love the book.

So there you go.

Til next time...

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