People often ask me how I find adult books with teen appeal. There are several ways, from reading pre-pub lists and advance reviews, to attending publisher previews, to perusing bookstore shelves.
One source I always check is the IndieBound Indie Next List, released on the first of each month. The IndieBound website promotes independent bookstores. Booksellers from around the country pick their favorite books of the month to included on the Next List, and each pick is accompanied by a descriptive quote. The lists include a variety of genres, both fiction and nonfiction, usually the best of the books receiving buzz as well as a few sleeper titles. I take a closer look at every title with any possibility of teen appeal.
(There is also a great IndieBound app — very convenient for bookstore or library visits — as well as a monthly “Now in Paperback” list, which I use to find ideas for my adult bookgroup.)
Taking a look at the November 2010 list, we have blog reviews upcoming for a few titles, including The Wolves of Andover by Kathleen Kent (Reagan Arthur) and Cleopatra by Stacy Schiff (Little, Brown).
Today’s book is a first novel, and a former Indie Next pick. Even better, I hear from trusted librarian colleagues (and via more than one listserv comment) that it is a favorite among readers. Having read it myself — I think it is a perfect example of a book published for the adult market that could have been been published as a young adult novel.
Adult/High School–This lively, funny, and sometimes touching fish-out-of-water tale will appeal to teens who love punk music, quirky characters, and slightly oddball situations. Sebastian is a 16-year-old who has been homeschooled in a geodesic dome in rural Iowa by his grandmother, a Buckminster Fuller devotee. When his grandmother has a stroke, he meets the Whitcomb family: mother Janice, who leads a somewhat out-of-control church youth group; Jared, a sarcastic chain-smoking heart-transplant recipient, and Meredith, a sexy, funny, and mean teenage femme fatale. Sebastian’s introduction, via Jared, to punk music; via Janice, to things like grilled-cheese sandwiches and grape soda; and via Meredith, to the stirrings of lust, cause him to start questioning his grandmother’s ideas for the first time. This is a beautifully written, wonderfully realized, and refreshingly unique coming-of-age story.–Sarah Flowers, formerly of Santa Clara County Public Library, CA