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Adult Books 4 Teens
Inside Adult Books 4 Teens


One of the BookExpo experiences I haven’t written about yet was a program titled YA-to-Adult: An Author Perspective, featuring authors Melissa de la Cruz, Ellen Hopkins and Melissa Marr, moderated by Cathy Berner of Blue Willow Bookshop.

All three popular YA authors have an adult book coming out this year. Graveminder by Melissa Marr was released on May 17th and is the subject of today’s review. Witches of East End by Melissa de la Cruz (Hyperion) comes out on June 21st, and Triangles by Ellen Hopkins (Atria) on October 18th. I will post reviews of both closer to their publication dates.

The discussion was launched with the inevitable question: Why write an adult novel?

Melissa Marr made it clear that she didn’t make a decision to write an adult novel. She simply wrote the story that came to her. As for what made this one adult, it definitely wasn’t sex or language – staying true to the characters, she found that her adults swore less than her teens. It’s all in the nature of the protagonist’s journey. In this case, it wasn’t a coming of age or about finding oneself.

Marr has noticed how many adults cross over and read her YA books, especially romance readers. She is hoping that her youngest YA readers don’t pick up Graveminder, but otherwise is sure that teens will want to read it. (I’m sure she’s right!) She also revealed that her writing process was very different for this book. This was the first time she wrote from beginning to end in a linear fashion – because it is a mystery, and she wanted to maintain the suspense.

I will save my notes about the other two authors for posts about their novels. Something to look forward to!

By the way, Melissa Marr fans have a lot to look forward to as well. She has a few books in the works, including a middle grade series.

MARR, Melissa. Graveminder. 336p. Morrow. 2011. Tr $22.99. ISBN 978-0-06-182687-0. LC 2010037261.


Adult/High School–Three elements drive Marr’s narrative: a small town that isn’t quite normal, a tangled romance, and a dead girl roaming the streets. The novel begins with Byron finding the body of Bek’s grandmother, Maylene, in a pool of blood. This murder brings Bek back to Claysville where Byron and Bek unravel family and town secrets and rekindle their intense relationship. As they try to get the roaming dead girl where she belongs, they find they have inherited a world of the dead that defines the town. Bek is the next in line for the job of Graveminder: the person who keeps the dead in their graves and takes those that haven’t been properly minded to the underworld; and Byron is the Undertaker, the only one who can open the door to the land underneath. While the underworld is expertly imagined, and there is wonderful tension between Byron and Bek, ultimately there’s not much here that’s new and completely engaging. In the underworld, Bek’s senses are heightened dramatically; it’s vibrant and alluring. Even so, when Mr. D, their main contact in the underworld, tries to seduce Bek, it’s unclear why he’d be competition for Byron’s steadfast love and protection. Twilight has more gasps, bites, and smoldering tension. Teen fans of the “Wicked Lovely” series (HarperCollins) will enjoy the creepy gothic vibe yet may be disappointed. There’s little for them to sink their teeth into, and there’s not enough drama to draw uninitiated teen readers to this author.–Amy Cheney, Alameda County Library, CA

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.