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Adult Books 4 Teens
Inside Adult Books 4 Teens

Crossover

Crossover is quite the hot topic, whether it’s the popularity of young adult literature with adult readers, adult books with teen appeal, or the many bestselling adult authors who have published YA titles recently.

Today’s book is the first adult novel from Darren Shan, whose Cirque du Freak and Demonata series are terribly popular with young horror readers. Set in a near future, Procession of the Dead is a great recommendation for both horror and dystopian fiction fans.

Before posting the review, a brief tangent about crossover. We’ve seen books that could have been YA published as adult, and adult books published as YA. My favorite example of the former is My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult. I have yet to suggest it to an 8th or 9th grade girl who doesn’t devour that book. Adult titles published as YA? Fewer of those, but there’s always The Book Thief by Markus Zusak, which was published as an adult book in his native Australia before making its way to the states.

This tangent was inspired by a Publishers Weekly article about Barry Gifford’s Sad Stories of the Death of Kings (Seven Stories, October), a short story collection being published for both audiences. Same content, different cover art. And it is being published in hardcover for YAs and paperback for adults.

Can anyone think of other instances of simultaneous publishing for adult & YA audiences?  I’m only coming up with one – The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon, published simultaneously for both audiences in Great Britain.

Does it matter, beyond award categories? Beyond placement in bookstores and libraries?

SHAN, Darren. Procession of the Dead. 288p. Grand Central. 2010. Tr $19.99. ISBN 978-0-446-55175-5. LC number unavailable.

Procession of the Dead e1288399066206 Crossover

Adult/High School–Older teens who feared they had outgrown Darren Shan can breathe easy again: he knows how to spin a brilliant story for more sophisticated readers just as much as he knows how to enthrall legions of middle-school horror fans. The humor is earthy and the horror is mostly mental, although there’s plenty of physical brutality, too. This is in some ways a gangster story, but seen through a funhouse mirror. Ambitious young Capac’s past is a blank slate, and he arrives in “the city” wanting nothing more than to join his mid-level mobster uncle and rise up high in The Cardinal’s forces. Because in this unnamed, vaguely Latin American city (Incan priests play a significant role), The Cardinal holds all the power. But Capac is less in control than he believes, and even as he finds mentors, makes friends, rises in The Cardinal’s world, and falls in love, someone else is pulling the strings. Dark ending aside (and it is dark), this is a classic adolescent journey, with a protagonist moving out into the world and beginning to exert his will upon it rather than be acted upon. It’s easy to root for Capac until the unexpected ending. And when teen readers clamor for  more, fill the gap until the next volume in the planned trilogy with two other books about odd, haunted cities: Jonathan Barnes’s The Domino Men (Morrow, 2009) and China Mieville’s The City and the City (Del Rey, 2009).–Karyn Silverman, Elizabeth Irwin High School, New York City

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Angela Carstensen About Angela Carstensen

Angela Carstensen is Head Librarian and an Upper School Librarian at Convent of the Sacred Heart in New York City. Angela served on the Alex Awards committee for four years, chairing the 2008 committee, and chaired the first YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adult committee in 2009. Recently, she edited Outstanding Books for the College Bound: Titles and Programs for a New Generation (ALA Editions, 2011). Contact her via Twitter @AngeReads.

Comments

  1. Aimee says:

    I think the idea of crossover is extremely important. Crossover titles allows for young adults to more easily move between young adult and adult fiction, which in the past has had quite a distinct gap. Crossover offers the opportunity for young adults to slowly be introduced to the world of adult fiction. This also seems to work the other way as I believe many adults discount young adult titles purely because they are marketed towards teenagers (and personally I think these people have no idea what they’re missing out on!).

    Some other great crossover titles are the Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins and the Chaos Walking trilogy by Patrick Ness. Both are targeted towards young adults, however they contain enough subtly with their underlying themes that they are also easily accessible and interesting to adult readers. Additionally, both these trilogies address some complex adult themes around identity and the responsibility of wielding great power.

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