Toronto Star Interview: “Young Adult Writers Are Changing the Face of Blockbusters”
The Toronto Star, Canada’s largest daily newspaper, recently ran a fantastic article on the evolution of YA literature, called “Young Adult Writers Are Changing the Face of Blockbusters,” and I was honored to be interviewed for the piece!
Here’s the opener:
Before Sam J. Miller sold his debut novel The Art of Starving, structured into the 53 commandments that anorexic teen Matt follows to restrict what he eats and — just maybe — nurture mystical superpowers, he was nervous about how, well, adult his young adult novel was. “You’re cool with all the f-bombs and gay sex?” he asked Kristen Pettit, his editor at HarperTeen. “I think it has exactly the right amount of f-bombs and gay sex,” she reassured him.
“She supported me to take it to the limit of where it needed to go,” he says today of the subversive memoir based on Miller’s own experience with an adolescent eating disorder. “If you are going to tell a story about someone’s journey towards self-destruction you have to make it real for people.”
Matt is a painfully relatable underdog for teens and adults alike, even as his questionable decisions make him anything but a role model. But crafting teachable moments is hardly a prerequisite in today’s Young Adult sphere, where diverse, nuanced narratives have emerged as today’s blockbusters — see, for example, the breakout success of this year’s The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas, about an African-American girl whose best friend is shot by a white police officer, or YA giant John Green’s novels, which will be joined this fall with the upcoming Turtles All The Way Down, about a 16-year-old whose character was inspired by Green’s own struggles with mental health…
Posted on: August 10, 2017, by : Sam J. M.
File under: Art of Starving, Blog