I knew that my novel, Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, was making its way onto high school reading lists when curious emails began popping up in my inbox. They tended to go something like this:
“Um, you know, your book, Motel on the Corner of Sweet and Sour—dude, it’s like m favorite novel of all time!! And I’m kinda wondering if you could, like, answer these twelve questions for me?” (In my mind, I always hear this question coming from a nasally, voice-cracking, pre-pubescent 14-year-old boy wearing a Hot Topic hoodie with his ear buds in, listening to “Bring Me the Horizon”).
And just like that, I was suddenly someone’s homework. Right up there with Of Mice and Men, the Pythagorean Theorem, and building dioramas out of old shoe-boxes and craftpaper.
To be honest, I wasn’t entirely sure how my novel would be received.
So then I asked myself why so many students embrace books like The Catcher in the Rye and To Kill a Mockingbird—because they’re amazing novels? Sure. But moreover, these are books with young protagonists. They offer voices that are readily absorbed by the intrepid imaginations of young adults. (more…)