One of the things I’m most thankful for this year comes in a body bag:
I’ve received a few different versions of my debut novel in the mail lately: A month ago, it was the shiny new paperback and, on Tuesday, it was the second printing of the hardcover. I haven’t been this excited about a New Edition since Robby, Bobby, Ricky, and Mike were doing their thing:
Uh, I was very young at the time…
A second printing in books is like beating the point spread in sports. For debut novels, expectations are generally pretty low—somewhere between the Lions, who are playing today at 12:30, and the Bills, who aren’t scheduled to lose again until Sunday—so I sort of feel like my book just pulled off the upset.
And that brings me to something that I am even more thankful for: the readers. Specifically, readers of contemporary YA, an army of absolute rock stars willing to, for example, check out a little black book that literally looks like death—and in which not a single character sparkles—written by someone they’d never heard of.
Fans of contemporary YA don’t shy away from the dark corners, and they definitely don’t scare easily. They are willing to look at modern life the way it is and consider not only the good and the bad but also the gray areas in between. And because they are, writers who want to explore the complex, turbulent terrain of high school life can do so without pulling punches or making the whole thing an elaborate allegory involving unicorns.
I’m not sure what the pilgrims would think of all this, but then, have you seen the way they dressed?
So goth, right? And I hear they were big fans of The Smiths (John Smith, in particular).
I know what I think, though. So before the first forkful of turkey (is added directly to my waistline), I wanted to give a sincere Thanksgiving thank you to all the readers of contemporary YA. You (Plymouth) rock!