Monday, November 17, 2008

teen books: Paranoid Park

I recently read an article by a 13 year old boy about what kinds of books boys want to read, and why the teen books for boys often fall flat. He writes:

"Another giant, oily blemish on the face of teenage literature (that was entirely intentional) is whatever urge compels writers to clumsily smash morals about fairness or honor or other cornball crap onto otherwise fine stories. Do you not think we get enough of that in our parents' and teachers' constant attempts to shove the importance of justice and integrity down our throats? We get it. I assure you, it makes no difference in our behavior at all."

Okay, so I recently read a really great book that would appeal to those who share Max's opinions: Paranoid Park by Blake Nelson. So scary, so real, so devoid of phony moralizing. The unnamed narrator is a skater kid who accidentally gets involved in a fight in which someone dies a rather gruesome death. So begins the most horrible, lonely odyssey of his life. Absolutely shocking, unstoppable page turning.


max said...

I grew up as a reluctant reader. Now I write action-adventures & mysteries, especially for tween boys, that girls and boys hate to put down. My web site is at and my Books for Boys blog is at

I also have a short story in a new book called LAY UPS and LONG SHOTS, published by Darby Creek Publishing. It's a Junior Library Guild selection. I'm also featured in an article in the 2009 edition of Children's Writer Guide.

My other books are all ranked by Accelerated Reader

Max Elliot Anderson

Davonna said...

Great article! Thanks for posting this Martha.

I have heard literary editors and agents ask for more "good" kid/teen guy lit at writer's conferences. They say that it is definitely an area that is lacking within the industry.

Obviously, this teen who wrote the article would agree.

I put this book on my to read list.