Ever since I changed jobs — and tried to venture into actual fiction/novel writing — I haven’t had as much time to keep my ear close to the ground to keep track of what’s going on in the publishing world. I mean sure, big thing’s like Harper Lee’s new novel I get to hear about because that’s hard to ignore, but the smaller stuff mostly pass me by now.
Which is why it’s a good thing that the good people from Scholastic have been nice enough to still keep me in the loop. They sent me an email some time ago about Vendetta, the debut YA novel of 24-year-old Irishwoman Catherine Doyle. And you know what? It seems like they really knew what I was into just basing from the book’s synopsis:
“When five brothers move into the abandoned mansion in her neighbourhood, Sophie Gracewell’s life changes forever. Irresistibly drawn to bad boy Nicoli, Sophie finds herself falling into a criminal underworld governed by powerful families.”
C’mon. A hot Italian bad boy? If you gave me that along with a lifetime supply of French fries I’d willingly give you my firstborn. My second-born, even. And while I tempered my expectations – it’s still a YA novel, even if it did come from the same publisher that brought us Numbers – I thought I would be getting into some hot Italian bad boy action. So did I?
I’m sure many of you guys remember the furor over the Wall Street Journal essay “Darkness Too Visible“, which declared most of today’s popular young adult work to be much too dark for actual young adults. The controversy that piece generated resulted in #yasaves, a Twitter-powered show of support for young adult works unafraid to toe the line with regards to the subjects of their work and how delicately — or not — to portray them.
I don’t know if #yasaves generated as much as a hubbub in the United Kingdom, but if it did, I’m pretty sure young adult author Rachel Ward would have been one of its staunchest supporters. Her debut novel, “Numbers”, certainly fits the the “dark” YA bill, as it tells the story of two teenagers on a harrowing trek across England after a terrorist attack makes them the object of a police investigation.
Things didn’t let up even during the last two days of the Manila International Book Fair (MIBF). Over the weekend, it seemed like I was still scurrying to and fro either attending talks or interviewing authors. If not that, I was scurrying off the the other end of the metropolis for an entirely different work obligation.
As such, I didn’t really get to check out as much of the other booths at the MIBF. I mostly just hovered at the National Book Store booth as they had some of the most noteworthy events — interviews with Alexander Yates, Samantha Sotto, and Rachel Ward! — and as a result got most of the books I bought there.