Monday, July 03, 2006
YALSA has named Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman a Best Book For Young Adults 2006, which mystifies me. Not that the book isn't good. It just doesn't appear to me to be YA. It doesn't appear to me to be published as YA.
They could have named it an Alex Award winner, meaning it was an adult book that appeals to young adult readers. But they didn't. They categorized it right with the YA books.
I think even an Alex Award would have been a bit of a stretch because I don't see a whole lot here to attract YA readers.
Anansis Boys revisits the fantastic idea behind American Gods--the gods of other cultures still exist here in America, though in a somewhat down-to-earth form. They have children who don't necessarily know their own fathers. Anansi Boys is much lighter than American Gods. Almost more run-of-the-mill, though certainly still an entertaining read.
Anansi, who has been hanging out in Florida, dies and his two adult sons meet for the first time. One of them is a godlike being. The other is some kind of an accountant.
There are themes here about identity and understanding your place in a family, which certainly are common in young adult literature. But there are no young adult characters and no compelling reason why the book should be considered more young adult than adult. Sure, anyone can read and enjoy this book. There's no reason in the world why it shouldn't make its way to some high school reading lists. But is it young adult?
I don't see it myself.