I’ve been sour on YA & Fantasy (and especially YA Fantasy!) books for a while now. They all seemed so same-same; plucky young post-feminist heroine, fistfights and martial arts, boy sidekick, evil wizards, talking animals, fairies, “the magic is strong in you”, lovestory, yawn-wawn. All I wanted to read was realistic fiction of the kind I had rejected as Bor-ing during my undergrad years. I read Anita Brookner and Susanna Moore and Alison Lurie and Margot Livesey. I didn’t want bright ideas or magical worlds, I just wanted a straight narrative, good prose, and human relationships. I read these books without even looking at the covers (library bindings) or reading the jackets, like a pixie-stick junkie going on an oat-bran bender.
I was working on a fantasy-ish story of my own, and I think that’s what gave me the x-ray spex of predictability. But now I’m done with that story and working on something much closer to the real world, and the last thing I want to read about is dreary human relationships. Give me new ideas! Give me alternate worlds! Give me zombies!
Carrie Ryan’s post-zombie ‘The Forest of Hands and Teeth’ (top contender for creepiest/best-title ever) turned it around for me. There has been so much good-looking stuff coming out while I wasn’t paying attention. I’ve just filled up my reserve list at the library with all of the titles I can’t wait to read. Starting with:
Thanks to Chris Barzak (author of an Honor book himself) for posting this year’s James Tiptree Jr. Award Honor List and getting me all excited.