Ah, the great YA-first-person debate! Writers, bloggers, critics and every possible combination thereof have opined on the popularity of first person in YA literature. In last weekend's Wall Street Journal, Meghan Cox Gurdon reviewed and compared three first-person YA's in her "Children's Books Chronicle."
My upcoming novel is written in first person (also in verse) so I'm not throwing any stones here. But, as I read, I noticed that Leila Sales' charming debut, MOSTLY GOOD GIRLS is in first person, along with NYT best-sellers Gale Forman's IF I STAY, Ellen Hopkins' CRANK, and Stephenie Meyers' TWILIGHT. Perhaps its the pervasiveness of this POV that has, of late, lead a few literary heavy hitters to throw punches at the old "I." As a YA-writer, it's made me insecure.
However, the great gods of procrastination pointed my feet toward literary fiction where...guess what? Living-writer- legend Philip Roth's AMERICAN PASTORAL, Ernest Hemingway's THE SUN ALSO RISES, Arthur Conan Doyle's ADVENTURES OF SHERLOCK HOLMES, Joshua Ferris's satire THEN WE CAME TO THE END, the framing chapters of Isaac Asimov's I, ROBOT, and F. Scott Fitzgerald's THE GREAT GATSBY all sit happily on the shelves, snuggling first person narrators inside their jackets. So, is the "I" a YA trend?
Happily, I was able to pull myself away from the stacks and get back to wrestling with my mansucript before all that deep thought made me need to nap :) However, I remain at a point of intense conflict, currently writing in third person, past tense but feeling like my character wants to speak for herself--you know, back to the "I." No conclusions here. Just observations...and questions.