Stay with this one. The book, I meant, but now that I've started writing this review and it went jackknifing off the rails before it even left the station, I mean the review too.
MOVING TO MONTANA SOON
I read Wise Young Fool (due out today! from Little Brown) sitting in a chilly hotel room in Cusco, Peru, during the couple days it took me and my children to adjust to the radical changes in altitude and gut flora that accompany - well, going to Peru. Which sounds like a euphemism, and in fact is now a euphemism in our family. Poor Peru. In truth, we had a wonderful three weeks there, and we will remember so many wonderful things about that trip - but I'm pretty sure it's only the vomiting that will live on in our family's linguistic microculture.
I love a good linguistic microculture. Future Swearing, school-specific slang and in-jokes, whatever's going on in Riddley Walker. It can go too far, though, and here is where we swing back around to talking about teen literature and Sean Beaudoin.
WAIT. SPOILER. WISE YOUNG FOOL IS EXCELLENT. I just have a few things to say before we get to that part.
THE GOSPEL FROM OUTER SPACE
I have been reading Sean Beaudoin's books for a while, and I find them intriguing. Beaudoin is - I guess I'll have to use the term "prose stylist," - a person who finds a groove and writes in it, somebody who adds syncopation, frill, and rumble to his writing. And this is something of a rarity in young adult fiction. What's that? You want to know why? Ok sure fine, I'll tell you why: because a lot of people don't think that teens have the sophistication to read through and past anything but the most ordinary deviations from straight prose - text messages, teen vernacular, the occasional cartoon.
I personally think those people are really, really wrong - I am not sure anyone but a teenager has the mental flexibility to read super-styley stuff like John Dies at the End, or Philip K. Dick. You know damn well Chuck Palahniuk and Tao Lin are totally just arrested teens, piling on the attitude. And there's a reason we make college students read Vonnegut and Nabokov. As we get older, we just don't have time for the divine detail.