When a YA Novel is Not

October 7th, 2011 • Kate

ready-player-one-cover1So I’m almost done reading Ready Player One by Ernest Cline, which is, as I opined on Twitter the other night, absolutely essential reading for a nerd of my age. Simplistically, it’s about a couple of teenagers trying to solve a giant Easter Egg Hunt in a vast virtual reality game. So why isn’t it YA?

Well, that comment I made above about “nerds of my age” is one reason. While it’s set in the near future, a major plot point has to do with a familiarity with pop culture of the 1980s. And you know who gets that? Not teenagers now who weren’t born until the 1990s, but adults, particularly those born in the 70s for whom the 80s were their formative teenage years.

This ties in with my comment from a couple of weeks ago about “historical” books as well. Often, if you’re setting a book at a time when you, as the writer, were a teen, it won’t feel like YA to teens today. A gross generalization, of course, but common.

Anyway, if you WERE a nerd or a pop culture junkie in the 80s, I highly recommend Ready Player One. I can’t wait to read more!

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One Response to “When a YA Novel is Not”

  1. Karen Says:

    Ooooh! This sounds good to me. It's hard not to reference 80's pop culture in my novels. Usually, if I slip it in, I have an adult character use it, or if it's a teen, it's because their parents forced them to watch or listen to 80's movies or music. Hopefully, I can get away with it. But this book sounds right up my alley!