The Catcher in the Rye, that is.
Amazon highlights Catcher, Caught by including an interview with the author by Kathryn Erkine, author of Mockingbird (Philomel), winner of the 2010 National Book Award for Young People’s Literature. In that interview, Honenberger shares that one of the reasons she wrote Catcher, Caught was to help today’s teens connect with The Catcher in the Rye, to see that Holden’s issues are not so different from their issues. Sounds like she had a teen audience in mind!
Catcher, Caught was published by AmazonEncore, the online giant’s foray into traditional publishing, which seeks books and authors that have been overlooked to bring to a wider audience. One way they find said books and authors is by comparing customer ratings and comments to sales, looking for books that are more popular than their sales numbers might indicate. Recently, Amazon announced plans to publish 16 book in Spring and Summer 2011, its largest list yet.
I was interested to see AmazonEncore on the exhibit floor at ALA Midwinter last month. I talked to their reps briefly, and they were very excited to figure out how to spread the word with librarians.
Adult/High School–It is a supremely daunting task to pay tribute to Holden Caulfield and Catcher in the Rye–even obliquely–in a work of fiction. So you have to admire Honenberger’s boldness in putting Holden smack in the center of a story about a 15-year-old boy who has leukemia. Throughout the novel, Daniel ruminates on Catcher’s connection to his life, constantly asking himself: “What would Holden do?” The parallelism between the characters is interesting because Daniel’s background–poor and southern–is the opposite of Holden’s. Luckily, Daniel is a funny, sharp character who mostly holds his own beside an iconic character who has been universally loved for 60 years. This book is recommended for its warmth and intelligence. The first half of the novel is slow and ruminative–much like Daniel’s family’s trips down the river in their houseboat. Introspective teens will appreciate these thoughtful meanderings, while others will simply slog through. The pace picks up in the second half when Daniel’s love affair with a girl named Meredith builds momentum, and his parents are accused of neglect for choosing alternative medical treatments over chemotherapy. The medical ethics drama deserves more space on the page, and at times, the lengthy Holden musings distract from the real action of the story. Still, this novel offers English classes a creative opportunity to reflect on Holden’s resonance over the years. This book will engage anyone who carries a torch for our friend in the red hunting cap.– Jess deCourcy Hinds, Bard H.S. Early College, Queens, NY