Debatables

Debatables: The Most Influential YA Series

Cricket and I are debating again!

And, well, I’m a little worried about my opponent this time around.

I think the poor gal has gotten somewhat addled.

If I asked you to name the Most Influential Young Adult Book Series of all time what image immediately springs to mind?

Yup. You guessed it: This guy.

Well Cricket disagrees. She says the most influential YA Series is The Hunger Games.

Don’t ask me why.

For THG to be the most influential, you’d have to ignore that fact that Harry Potter came out more than a decade before THG. Or that HP produced a septet of books to THG’s three. Or that HP spent an entire uninterrupted decade on the New York Times Bestseller List. Or that HP led to midnight book release parties and lines around the block. Or that HP spawned a bazillion merchandizing tie ins. Or that HP singlehandedly changed the children’s book publishing industry as we know it. Or that geeks across the globe are actually skipping around on brooms playing honest-to-God games of Quidditch.

I mean, geez!

Cricket is a lovely person, but she has a bad habit of believing Alternate Facts.

Anyhoo, the debate can be found on Cricket’s blog. Head on over, read our arguments, and chime in with your opinion! It’ll be fun!

See ya there!

On Writing

You’re Grounded!

I don’t write about my day job on this blog too often, because my day job doesn’t have much to do with writing for children.

On rare occasions, however, I get lucky.

GroundingI draw my salary from The Lawrenceville School, editing and writing for The Lawrentian, the School’s alumni magazine. Not too long ago, I learned that Julian Thompson, the author of 20 YA books, was an alumnus, and, well, I just had to interview the guy.

I read Thompson’s young adult novel, The Grounding of Group 6, when I was an actual young adult. I remembered loving it, but, after 30 years, I couldn’t remember much else. All I could recall was a couple of basic plot points. I also recalled that the book had some dirty parts – which might have been why the 12-year-old me thought the book was so dang wonderful.

I gave Thompson a call and he could not have been more gracious. He happily agreed to sit for an interview. In preparation, I reread Grounding and found it to be every bit as good as I had remembered. And yes, the dirty parts are still a little dirty – but not nearly as dirty as my memory had led me to believe, which is kind of a relief, really.

Whew! I thought. Thompson is not the Henry Miller of middle school lit!

For those of you who might be interested, I am posting a PDF of the story below. I don’t think the finished article is a great piece of magazine writing by any stretch, but I do think it is as good a way as any to remember a fine writer and a generous human being.

Julian Thompson: Grounded by Experience