For you, what is the difference between a YA novel and a novel for adults?
There seems to be real immediacy in some of the YA books I've read. I suppose I tend to be a bit more language-focused in my adult novels; I will allow myself to linger in a passage, playing with it and letting it twirl around awhile in a way that I wouldn't have felt was instinctively right for Belzhar, particularly because it's in first-person, and in this case the narrator really wants and needs to get her experiences told now, and understood. Of course, language matters in both types of books (and I know there's a lot of overlap in terms of who reads what). For me, a satisfying novel, whether it's intended for teenagers or adults, or both, usually has a clear imperative, and is populated by characters we come to know very well. (Case in point, I just re-read Carson McCullers's brilliant The Member of the Wedding, which is so deep and powerful about a young person trying to find out where she belongs.) And at the end of any satisfying novel, the reader probably feels: oh, I really know the way this writer thinks and describes things; I know this world.
The book is about Sylvia Plath, among other things.
And now I'm thinking I should do a round-up of Sylvia Plath-related YA books. Because I think there are a good number of them.