There are two new books that are being marketed to the “Young Adult” market that I am eager to read, and both have been getting rave reviews from actual adults. This is entirely in keeping with one of the recently discussed tenets of the “alterna-parenting” meme, namely, refusing to grow up. The first book is King Dork by Frank Portman. True alterna-parents will, of course, remember Frank Portman as the singer of the punk outfit, The Mr. T Experience. King Dork is the story of a nerdy high schooler who is bumping along through life until he stumbles across his father’s copy of the Catcher in the Rye. This most usual of high school discoveries leads to the very unusual discovery of:
…several interlocking conspiracies and at least half a dozen mysteries involving dead people, naked people, fake people, ESP, blood, a secret code, guitars, monks, witchcraft, the Bible, girls, the Crusades, a devil head, and rock and roll.
Sweet. The author has a pretty good collection of reviews on his Amazon “plog”. King Dork has its own discography. The book also comes with this sweet cover graphic, which is a defaced copy of The Catcher in the Rye paperback:
Should there be any confusion that I was born to read this book, let me offer Exhibit A, my high school copy of Hamlet.
Please note the totally punk Ghost of Hamlet’s father, sporting the anarchy tattoo on his head, Dirty Rotten Imbeciles and Black Flag patches on his jacket, the Mohawk, and the safety pin in his nose. The forlorn Hamlet has my high school’s uniform patch on his jacket. What angst! Even scarier – it took me less than three minutes to find the book.
Book two on my Young Adult shopping spree is The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. What got my attention about this book was Janet Maslin’s New York Times review that began:
Well, that’s certainly provocative. Then I heard the author interviewed on NPR’s All Things Considered. I was sold. I would summarize what I know of the plot here, but I can’t think of how to do it without making the book sound stupid – which is my fault, not the book’s.
In the course of writing this post, I left to run some errands, so I popped into Barnes & Noble to buy this book. I couldn’t find it, so I asked for help at the information desk. The nice lady behind the counter said, ” Are you sure that’s the title that you’re looking for? That book is for teenagers”. After I convinced her that I was quite sure, she led me to the teen section saying, “I read a good review of this book, but then I saw that it was for teenagers…”. Ostensibly, this woman’s job is to sell books. I’ll let you know if these two titles live up to the hype.
Update: Frank Portman, author of King Dork, links to us here.