Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Young Adult Fiction: Click

I just read the recently released young adult novel, Click, by David Almond, Eoin Colfer, Roddy Doyle, Deborah Ellis, Nick Hornby, Margo Lanagan, Gregory Maguire, Ruth Ozeki, Linda Sue Park, and Tim Wynne-Jones. Yes, you read that correctly; this novel has 10 authors!

The concept behind Click was to start with ten bestselling, award-winning writers. Each one wrote a single chapter in the novel. As you can imagine, each chapter has its own unique style, but it works. The end result is a novel that tells a story, but with many surprising twists and turns. It’s part character-study, part mystery, part teen angst, part comedy, with a bit of science fiction thrown in.

The novel opens with two siblings, Maggie, middle school-age, and Jason, a high school senior, struggling in their own ways with the recent death of their Grandpa “Gee”. Gee was a famous photographer who traveled all over the world, and he left each of his grandchildren with a puzzling gift: an old camera and a box of photos for Jason and a handmade box of seashells for Maggie.

The story unfolds as Maggie and Jason each come to terms with Gee’s death and their own changing lives, while they try to make sense of what Gee has left them. Within the format of the book’s changing authors, some chapters deal with one child or the other, some address Gee’s past, and some are actually about the subjects of certain photos that Gee left to Jason. The threads are all gradually woven together, as Maggie and Jason each find their own path to the adults they will become.

More character driven than action-oriented, this book will probably appeal to teens and young adults (and grown-ups, too!). Though the changing authors and various story threads might be distracting to some readers, I thought the editing process was effective, producing a book that tells a full story from different perspectives.

Click was a quick and pleasant read for me, and I enjoyed sampling the writings of ten different authors (I had only read one of them before). In fact, the book has inspired me to check out other offerings from some of these writers. As an added bonus, all proceeds from Click are being donated to Amnesty International.

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