Re: RARA-AVIS: Marijane Meaker's web site

From: Mark Sullivan (
Date: 06 Oct 2003

miker wrote:

"My 15-year-old daughter just finished a book called SMACK by Melvin Burgess, and she's wanting to ask Ms Meaker about her young adult books."

I've seen Smack in the bookstore and thought about picking it up, since I'm fascinated by books about junkies. Did she like it?

I must admit I'm not very familiar with YA books. The only ones I've read are Young Adult Novel by Daniel Pinkwater and two books by Jess Mowry, although they were early books, shelved in Lit, not YA in the stores (am I right in thinking his last few novels were specifically aimed at the YA market?). I've never read SE Hinton, but I've seen movie adaptations of three of her books -- Tex, Outsiders and Rumblefish.

So what exactly distinguishes a YA book? Is it the characters, the writing or both? Or is it simply the marketing? For instance, I am currently reading Vin Packer's The Young and Violent. It's a Gold Medal, but it's about high school age gang members and their social setting. Is this different from a YA novel in anything but shelving? I guess I could ask the same question about Catcher in the Rye or Rule of the Bone.

Related, can anyone recommend some good noirish or hardboiled YA novels for me to acquaint myself with the genre?


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