Well, not really. All of my flying was via standard-issue aircraft, and to the best of my knowledge, there were no capes flapping behind that Boeing 767. Am I a fan of the flying? Not really. But I was on the only flight (for that airline) that seems to have made it from SFO to JFK yesterday, so--even if I got home at three am (yes, today is an excellent day for coffee), I'm pleased to be back.
And, should you be wondering--as I was--whether the reports of snow in NYC are exaggerated--well, they're not. Not only did people get stuck on the A train for nine hours (yikes!) and also on New Jersey Transit (double yikes!) but the snow, once plowed, is waist-high. Granted, I'm short. But as the cabbie tossed my luggage over these mini-mountains between street and sidewalk, I had some climbing to do. Happily, I was wearing practical boots. Yes, I think heels will be shelved for awhile yet.
I picked up two excellent books featuring, of all things, meat--Medium Raw: A Bloody Valentine to the World of Food and the People Who Cook by Anthony Bordain (though rather amusing, this is not a food/chef's memoir you can give your grandmother) and Going Bovine, which I actually purchased just minutes before going to a steakhouse with my family. With this little tome about mad cow in my bag, the sole veggie option was somewhat less disappointing.
Now. I've only read about half of it so far, but--I do believe I need to name a new subgenre in YA literature.
I confess, operating on about five hours of sleep, I'm in no position to come up with a clever title.
But--if you've ever, er, "borrowed" shopping carts at Kmart for the express purpose of racing through the parking lot,* pushing your friends in them--likely by moonlight, perhaps under the influence of several ill-advised cans of Surge** (yes, we were dorky enough to think caffeine in large quantities was exciting; yes, the carts were returned safely)--all while deliriously in lurve with some cutie at your school, who'd just, that day, shown interest--then you know how it feels to read these works.
There are three works like this that come to mind, with a feel similar to this (and, if you can think of more, please let me know):
Paper Towns. For serious. Go out and get it. This is the best of the best in this category. I spent about 85 percent of my time reading this grinning like an idiot.
I Love You, Beth Cooper. Don't be fooled by the stupid-looking movie version--this his hilarious, witty, smart and obviously written by someone who has an inside view of teen geek life. Very amusing.
And of course, now, Going Bovine.
There are some elements of this in other works, of course, but these are the purest examples I've found.
Now, what do they have in common?
- Male protagonists in love (or crushing on) young women who seem, at first, quite inappropriate for them--out of their social league, usually.
- People often say that YA fiction (and most books) are for (young) women. That said, being female, it's incredibly fun to watch teen love from a male perspective. So, if you're writing from this male perspective, not to worry.
- A male perspective is not necessary for this sort of excitement, but it does make things easier--it strikes a very different chord for males, rather than females, to be crude and/or engaging in gross-out/amusingly destructive/lustful behavior--so there's a bit more freedom to be outrageous without having to explain it. Unfortunate but true. Imagine GK as a guy. It'd probably be really different. I'd be sure to have excellent ties.***
- Adventure, usually involving driving (or other travel), mild law-breaking, mischief, and--rather improbably--not getting caught. I busted out laughing when I read the description of Beth Cooper's driving habits. I'm sure my seat mates thought me rather strange.
- A journey seeking something at the end. For Paper Towns and Going Bovine, the protagonist is looking for a particular person (Margo Roth Spiegelman and Dr. X, respectively). Beth Cooper's protagonist is following, well, Beth Cooper--and hoping for her approval. And love. Aww.
- The element of a teen fantasy. Are these totally impossible? Yes. Are they taking off from what many teenagers wish they could do? Why, yes--they are.
With that, I'm off to get more coffee and cold medicine.
Hope you're well and had a wonderful holiday.
* It was a small town. Don't judge.There was very little to do.
** See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Surge_(soft_drink)
*** Cravats, and ruffles in general, are underrated.