A lit. Agent told me that if Catcher in the Rye were to come the end today, it would be classified…

Christopher Conlon is a writer that fiction, nonfiction, and also poetry, and an editor. His first book that verse, Gilbert and also Garbo in Love, won the 2004 peace Corps writers Prize for best Poetry Book, while his Midnight top top Mourn Street was a finalist for the Horror writers Association’s 2008 Bram Stoker award in the group of first Novel. As an editor, Conlon winner the 2009 Stoker Award for Superior achievement in an Anthology because that his Richard Matheson tribute volume, He Is Legend, which is gift reprinted by Tor in trade hardcover this September. Visit him virtual at ChristopherConlon.com.

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The Gardener(Young Adult)by S.A. Bodeen (Tanzania 1989-90) Feiwel and also FriendsMay 2010233 pages$16.99

Reviewed by Christopher Conlon (Botswana 1988-90)

WHAT IS “Young Adult” literature, anyway?

Many think of Young Adult publications simply as novels for kids, prefer the old “Juvenile” category some of us oldsters remember from ours childhoods. But “Y.A.” is almost everywhere now — in fact, it’s the only real growth genre in fiction posting today. Media reports have it the the audience because that Y.A. Novels now stretches to world as old together 30 — and also with the bother Potter and also Twilight series, also that limitation is meaningless. Those stories have proven popular with literally all ages.

So what’s “young” about the Young Adult designation? For the matter, what’s “adult” around it?

I am no a continual reader the Y.A. Novels, but I’ve consumed a few over the year — Scott Westerfeld’s Uglies, Stephen Baxter’s The H-Bomb Girl, Terry Pratchett’s Johnny and also the Bomb, Joyce Carol Oates’ Big Mouth and Ugly Girl. Most recently, I read S.A. Bodeen’s The Gardener, one intriguing scientific research fiction/horror story which helps clarify both components of the Young Adult tag.

The Gardener is the story of Mason, a disfigured teens (he was mauled through a dog together a child) who has never well-known his father other than as an image in a brief video the man produced him prior to his disappearance long ago. His mom is an alcoholic single parent that works in a hospital ward which dwellings catatonic teenagers. Someday Mason visits his mom at occupational and, top top a whim while mommy is away from she desk, plays a video; in ~ which time, among the patients, a girl called Laila, unexpectedly wakes, pleading v Mason come take she away because “The Gardener is coming!” Why walk the video clip wake her? who or what is the Gardener? and what is the true nature of Laila and all the other teens in the ward?

These room intriguing questions, and for the most component Bodeen does a fine, entertaining job of comment them. The novel is plainly geared to teens — both our main characters are the age, and the story moves rapidly from one event to another, nicely setup up one “innocent kids vs. Threaten adults” motif. The language that the book avoids vulgarities, over there is no graphics violence or sex, and the story is told totally sequentially, making it straightforward for any kind of competent young reader to follow. The basic themes which ultimately emerge — global warming, world hunger — room relevant and also handled seriously.

In all, The Gardener is a fine and appropriate tale for teenagers, however one that can be took pleasure in by adults as well. And maybe that’s the secret of the Y.A. Designation — not that the publications are necessarily for young world only, but that they have the right to be review profitably by both the young human and the adult.

Alas, I should report two significant reservations ns have about The Gardener. First, the publisher has done the author no favors by offering a dust jacket through artwork showing a half-plant, half-human figure, finish with the tagline: “This greenhouse…grows humans.” That gives away far too lot of the story, and will frustrate readers who would choose the revelations of The Gardener to come at their own pace.

Secondly: I dislike to need to say this, however for every the thrills that the story, I had actually the identification of the secret “Gardener” pegged over a hundred pages prior to we acquired to the big Revelation. Any type of fan the Star wars will be able to do the same.

Still, regardless of a specific level the predictability, The Gardener is a well-told story that should hold fans of science fiction and also horror, whatever their ages, duly enthralled.

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