Ghosts of a Teenage Past by Deb Tiffany

debauthorpic2First of all, congratulations, Katie! Welcome to the world of debut fiction. And readers, if you haven’t yet left a comment this week, why not stop in and say hi? You could win a signed copy of Bad Girls Don’t Die.

Young adult fiction has taken off in a big way over the past few years. Everyone’s reading it–even adults. Just look at the Twilight phenomenon. One thing puzzles me, though. Why is so much YA fiction based in the supernatural?

I don’t read that much YA (my kids are still little), so I did a little tour on Amazon and B & N, and it turns out that there are a lot of werewovles, demons, vampires, fairies, and ghosts romping around in the teen literary world. Bad Girls Don’t Die has a nasty ghost, some creepy dolls, and possession in it.

Then I started remembering being a teenager. For me, much of adolescence felt exactly like a form of possession. It’s such a bizarre time in life, a period when you’re half-formed and you know it. You really could be almost anything, you’re changing every day, and the machinations of the adult universe are still not fully revealed. So is it such a stretch to extend the metaphor to include otherworldly creatures?

Teenagers don’t do anything by halves, so it makes sense that the supernatural, where themes of life are writ large, speaks to them. And don’t look down your nose at the subject, either. Some of the classic works in literature are “supernatural.” Frankenstein, Dr. Faustus, The Picture of Dorian Gray, and how about Paradise Lost or The Divine Comedy?

Clearly, Katie is in terrific company. I hope her book finds lots of readers, young and old, who aren’t afraid of ghosts, and, more importantly, aren’t afraid to remember what it’s like when the larger world is still full of mystery and danger.

24 Replies to “Ghosts of a Teenage Past by Deb Tiffany”

  1. That’s so true, Tiffany. I remember loving to get scared as a kid, too. And Katie’s book will definitely appeal to all those kids (and adults) looking for a good spooky read.

  2. That’s definitely one of the reasons I love writing for and about teens–everything is important! When you’re older, you tend to have a bit more of a shell against the world. But teens soak everything up, and use it all to become new people every day.

    And yeah, I think the supernatural has a great appeal for everyone who feels like a bit of an outsider. In a way, your Truly has her own supernatural circumstances, too.

  3. My fourteen year old daughter LOVES all that scary stuff – and the rest of the family hates it! She’ll sit and watch the scariest movies all by herself! So Katie’s definitely hit on exactly what appeals to teens.

  4. Except the supernatural trend in YA is relatively new, at least the sheer amount of it. Why? Perhaps our amazing technology have left teens with little to wonder about unless it’s “other worldly.”

  5. Although, Larramie, starting when I was in middle school (so we’re talking when I was only 11 or 12) the “in” stuff to read was Stephen King and VC Andrews, and then in high school the cool books were the Anne Rice Lestat novels. There were also the Chronicles of Narnia, the Wrinkle in Time series (LOVED it) and for a younger set, James and the Giant Peach. Those weren’t scary so much as fantastical… There’s definitely an explosion of it now but I think otherworldly fiction has always appealed to young people.

    Come to think of it I *used* to read scary stuff more often! I’m getting wimpy in my old age.

  6. I think “supernatural” fiction isn’t that new. Look at Gothic novels from the 19th century. But Larramie is right in that there’s been a huge explosion of wizards and vampires and such in the past ten years. And, Katie, I guess Truly does have a little of the supernatural about her. But I’m a sucker for a good Gothic story….

  7. Me, too, Tiffany–ghost stories are fascinating to me because (unlike, for instance, the Blair Witch Project) you don’t go out looking for the ghost. It just comes with the territory. That makes it much spookier, because it could happen to anybody. I never did feel much sympathy for those Blair Witch people, LOL.

    There is definitely an element of the gothic in Little Giant… that quilt! That swoonworthy quilt!

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