|Someday This Pain Will Be Useful to You, by Peter Cameron|
I even wrote an article for NPR books about it, where I described it as a story that acknowledges “that it's awkward to be an introvert in a world of extroverts; that the teen years are usually not the best years of our lives, despite all hype to the contrary; and that it can be terrifying to reach out for the things we want.” It’s exactly the kind of book I would love to have written. Failing that, I continue on my mission to get as many people to read it as possible.
I write contemporary, realistic novels, and the books I wish I’d written often fall into that category as well. A bunch of them occupy one of my Goodreads shelves, including:
(If you have trouble reading any of the titles, they are K.L. Going's Fat Kid Rules the World, Jackson Pearce's Purity, Emily Horner's A Love Story Starring My Dead Best Friend, Sara Zarr's Sweethearts, and David Levithan's Every You, Every Me.)
My favorites often tend to be on the darker side—dealing with loss, illness, danger—but many of them also have a rich vein of humor, and of course there is hope. They are bittersweet, just like life itself.
Then there’s this one:
|First Day on Earth, by Cecil Castellucci|
It starts like a contemporary realistic YA, with the strong voice typical of that genre. But when the character begins talking about being abducted by aliens, you wonder: is this really science fiction? Or is the character just delusional?
I can’t write any of these books, but I'm glad other people did. I take them as examples to enjoy and learn from … and to urge other people to read.