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>The delights of genre fiction

>Ah, the British boarding school novel–the chums and mates, midnight feasts, and thrilling escapes “over the wall” to go into town and swap cheeky badinage with the local rogues:

“Oi, sweetheart!” shouted one, standing behind his friend and pointing at Jinx. “Wanna sit on my face?”
Christ, she thought, what an invitation! Please do excuse me while I strip off right here, right now, delighted by this obviously not to be missed, once in a bloody lifetime opportunity.
“Why?” Jinx drawled, in her very best “I am ever so bored by you” voice. “is your nose bigger than your dick?”

(from Those Girls by Sara Lawrence, Razorbill October ’07)

Roger Sutton About Roger Sutton

Roger Sutton has been the editor in chief of The Horn Book, Inc, since 1996. He was previously editor of The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books and a children's and young adult librarian. He received his M.A. in library science from the University of Chicago in 1982 and a B.A. from Pitzer College in 1978. Follow him on Twitter: @RogerReads.



  1. >Well, don’t keep us in suspense–IS his nose bigger than his dick? It may affect my decision to pick this up come October.

  2. >Are we supposed to consider this good writing? Why would I want to read that? Why would a company — any company — want to publish that?

  3. Melissa says:

    >Actually, compared to some of the utter shite that’s been published recently (see: Pretty Little Liars, The Celebutantes on the Avenue), that almost has a kind of poetry to it.

    The crappy teen girl fiction seems to get crappier (and sluttier) every year.

  4. Roger Sutton says:

    >Alas, Brian, Jinx and her chum tire of the sport and go off to down some E and jump in the ocean.

  5. janeyolen says:

    >Now I understand why my novels aren’t selling the way they used to! Thanks for the information.



  6. Anonymous says:

    >Are you waiting for us to write the next line?


  7. Roger Sutton says:

    >Hey, yes, let’s write one of those “jump” novels that are trying to be the next New Thing. It’s where a bunch of writers take turns contributing chapters but we could just go one sentnce at a time. For a twist, we could impersonate favorite writers as we go:

    “Nobody cares about your stupid-poopid nose OR dick,” went Junie B. Jones, as she draggded Jinx away from the stewey-pewey boys.

  8. >If I must write literary sewage to get published, I won’t get published.

    Is that really catagorized as TEEN fiction?!


    P.S. – The spoof jump novel sounds fun, however.

  9. GraceAnne LadyHawk says:

    >OK, I thought it was funny. Quite funny, in fact.

    There are many different kinds of books, and sometimes, this kind is fun. It is not literature. It is the book equivalent of a box of cheap chocolates. There’s a place for that.

  10. >Can I contribute a paragraph instead of a sentence?

    Their friend Lucky just smiled. The day before she had sat eavesdropping as this very boy told members of the local Narcotics Anonymous Group his own rock bottom story. His name was Chase, and as the summer heat blazed up from the concrete sidewalk, drawing out pools of sweat from behind Lucky’s knees, he had told of how he liked to chase his dose of E with a little bit of cocaine or crystal meth. He only wanted to live up to his name, he said to his NA group– letting out a laugh that told Lucky he was gathering himself up to get to the good part… the part about how he finally got as low as he could go, and then came to find his higher power. The part about how he overdosed on one of those same cocaine chasers, and then went on to meet a snake that had developed a taste for people– a snake that had moved on to its own higher calling– and lost what he held most dear. And, remembering that story now, Lucky’s smile widened. “Don’t worry, Jinx,” she called after her friend. “He may talk like he means it, but when it comes down to business, our buddy Chase here doesn’t have the balls.”

  11. >No doubt there’s too much crappy fiction out there aimed at teenagers. But I enjoyed the Pretty Little Liars books (I reviewed them both for the Guide) and Celebutantes wasn’t bad either. They’re actually a lot smarter than much of their ilk — the writing is taut, dialogue crisp, and there’s a tongue-in-cheek quality about them.

  12. Anonymous says:

    FIRST it’s the American Girls, and now THIS.

  13. Anonymous says:

    >I just visited one of those all girl schools just outside London(I’m not just blogging) and I asked the girls what they were reading- NEVER an American Author was the Response.

    However, Paris Hilton was on the cover of every newspaper in London. I can’t wait for Paris to write her kids/teen thriller book. I bet those girls will read that American Girl Author. The Higher Power of Paris indeed!

  14. >[sniff… sniff…]

    Sorry, folks. Still smells like sewage.

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