Tuesday, March 22, 2005

More on a New Spring Book

My March 18 post mentions Looking for Alaska by John Green. On the basis of the review of Alaska that I read in The Horn Book Magazine, I was planning to give the book a pass. It just sounded like more YA trauma for the sake of trauma.

However, a site called MB Toolbox carries an interview with Green in which he sounds self-effacing and pleasant. (And hot, John. Hot.) So I have changed my mind. If I stumble upon Looking for Alaska at a library I will, at the very least, read the flap content. And perhaps the whole book.

I do have one issue with the Green interview. Green was asked "What's the difference between writing a YA book and an adult novel?" This was an interesting question given that Alaska is supposed to be his first book, and thus he's never written an adult book. Green's response was, "These days, the distinction between YA books and adult books is, at least to an extent, marketing. So insofar as it's just the marketing decision of your publisher, there isn't much of a difference at all." I'm guessing that what he means by that is that he just wrote his book, and after he was done, his publisher told him it was YA.

There should be a definite difference between YA and adult fiction, a difference in theme and character at the very least. YA is a separate and specific genre. I hope that Green's publisher made its decision to publish his book as YA because someone there believed it was a YA book. Whatever reason would there be to make the "marketing decision" to publish a book as YA? Especially since, as a general rule, YA doesn't sell anywhere near as well as adult fiction.

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