Saturday, March 1, 2008

Voice in YA

After reading The White Darkness, I started thinking a bit about narrator voice in young adult literature. I think Sym had a pretty distinctive voice...and I think the world of YA is full of distinctive, unique voices. Some are funny, some are angry, or depressed, or completely unreliable. I remembered Elvin in Slot Machine, Harriet in Harriet the Spy (not quite YA, but definitely distinctive), all the way back to Holden in The Catcher in the Rye. Just for fun, what are some of your favorite YA narrators (or "voices")? Which ones don't you like? I'd have to think some more before I could decide my favorite and least favorite, but I'm interested in what you all love (and maybe hate)!

8 comments:

Leo Landry said...

I don't know why, but as soon as you mentioned this topic, Jessica Vye in"A Long Way From Verona" by Jane Gardam popped into my head. I think I read this book about 20 years ago! Clearly, a memorable YA voice for me.

Cassandra Mortmain said...

As my ... pen name (?) would indicate, I am just nuts for Cassandra Mortmain from I Capture the Castle. I disagree with J.K. Rowling often, on many different subjects, but I have to say I wholeheartedly agree with her that Cassandra is one of the most charismatic narrators I've ever met. I also think that Georgia Nicholsen from Angus, Thongs, and Full Frontal Snogging is a deeply memorable narrator.

Julie said...

A recent favorite, but I've loved Gemma Doyle in the Libba Bray trilogy. I also had a pleasant experience the other week when I reread From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler - not YA but one of my favorite books from childhood. I identified with Claudia a ton when I was 12, but now I enjoyed seeing the narrative from Mrs. Frankweiler's perspective. The book had always been written from her perspective, of course, but I don't think I fully picked up on that when I was 12. Fun to read it now through "adult" eyes.

Dawn said...

i love rachel cohn's cyd charisse. also chris lynch's gypsy davy - so haunting.

kristin said...

How about Brock Cole's Celine? The narrator made that book hilarious for me.

Jess said...

After some thought, even though it's not YA, I'd have to say the voice of Harriet (from Harriet the Spy) stands out the most for me. I also have a lot of affection for Mia of The Princess Diaries! The Perks of Being a Wallflower also comes to mind.

Amanda said...

Some narrators who've really stuck with me are Cyd Charisse (go figure, Dawn, we like the same characters!); Mattie Gokey in A Northern Light by Jennifer Donnelly; Stella in Like the Red Panda by Andrea Seigel; and John in You Don't Know Me by David Klass.

Leo, I've never heard of the book you mentioned, but if it's stuck with you this long, I think I should check it out.

Also, I'm interested in the other part of Jess's question here: Who, as narrators, do we NOT like? I'll have to think on that one.

kristin said...

Amanda reminded us to think about who we DON'T like as a narrator. I can answer that easily: Bo in Ironman by Chris Crutcher. Oh, the over-writing! The angst! I despised that character and that book.