I didn’t think about my first couple of novels, A BLUE SO DARK or PLAYING HURT, being used in a classroom. At all. And it probably shows—in A BLUE SO DARK, there’s plenty of swearing and a few passing drug references, and in PLAYING HURT, we’ve got quite a few titillating scenes—one of which culminates in the protagonist losing her virginity.
My first MG, THE JUNCTION OF SUNSHINE AND LUCKY, released last month, and I’m learning just how valuable teachers are. The book has been read aloud in several classrooms; I’ve got Skype visits lined up to talk to the students who devoted class time to Auggie’s story.
It’s made me think differently about a YA’s place in the classroom. FERAL, my next YA, was actually written before this revelation. But I can’t wait to see how it’ll shape future YA work.
It’s amazing, really, how writing in one genre can help hone your skills in another genre. Anyone else out there grow as a YA writer by writing non-YA work?