I have a love hate relationship with “teen” fiction.
First of all, let’s be honest. Most books under the label “Teen Fiction” in the bookstore should be relabeled as “Teen Girl Fiction.” Which isn’t especially politically correct, but is definitely a better descriptive for what it is.
My problem with the genre, however, is not with the terminology. It’s with… the stories. Some of them start out so well… and then the author goes and does something stupid. Or just doesn’t develop things the way that they would if it were, well, for grown ups. Now I understand that there are really good authors of teen fiction. And that teenage girls probably don’t read the same way I do.
But good fiction, no matter the age group, should transcend any ascending age barrier. I still read A little Princess and the Secret Garden (Frances Hogsen Burnette). I’ve read all of the Harry Potter Novels. (JK Rowling).
And now there’s A Breath of Eyre by Eve Marie Mont. It’s actually a familiar concept, but done in a way that makes sense within the story and is extremely well done, Emma is dropped into the world of Jane Eyre. That it is done in a way that doesn’t feel forced, that makes sense within the story and it’s actually…. GASP…. A GOOD STORY!
It kept my interest, was well paced. If the characters were a little too young, well… They actually are young! They were absoluteky acting appropriate to their age. Which reinforces my idea that labelling something “Teen Fiction” is a misnomer. Good writing is good writing, no matter the intended audience and this particular subset gets a lot of flack (from me, too!)
Now the big question is…
If teen boys read… what do they read? I’m assuming it’s not Twilight.