Teenage boys are dumb. Most of them are far too busy playing with fire or staring at bright lights to read. That’s why I’ve been saying for quite some time that “YA Fiction” should be rebranded as “YW Fiction” you know, for “young women.” Some boys read, sure, but if you’re going to write “YA Fiction,” you need to know your audience: brooding, introverted, artistic, intelligent girls. They’re the ones that sit in class comfortable in their zip-up hoodies. They love their music and their thoughts and they’re a step above the other teens that mill around them drowning in their preoccupation with fashion or the “he said she said” of teenage life. These are the girls you’ll be writing for if you delve into YA; they are your audience. And nobody knows their audience like DelSheree Gladden. She proves it in “Wicked Hunger.”

 

I’m not quite sure how she does it. The story is written in present tense, which is modern and keeps you in the moment. That part I get. The protagonist, an angsts ridden teenage girl named Vanessa, would be easy to identify with if you’re in the same boat. That part I get as well. But Gladden is able to convey a brooding mood and sense of tension through her prose and, I wasn’t quite able to pinpoint how it was done. The best part is that it felt organic; Gladden didn’t overly rely on artifice. Most of the story comes from Vanessa’s point of view, so her troubles and needs and fears aren’t filtered through narration. I really liked it.

 

Lastly, I’d like to commend Gladden for the darker hue with which she writes in her latest series. Most “YA” authors tone it down. I suppose they’re afraid of writing something too dark for someone too young, but giving in to that fear is tantamount to dishonesty. Young adults deserve literature that doesn’t pull punches at the expense of the story, and “Wicked Hunger” delivers perfectly. I’d strongly recommend this book to anyone who’s a fan of “YW Fiction.” You can find it here: http://www.amazon.com/dp/0615832989/

Wicked Hunger

Vanessa and Zander Roth are good at lying. They have to be when they are hiding a deadly secret. Day after day, they struggle to rein in their uncontrollable hunger for pain and suffering in order to live normal lives. Things only get worse when Ivy Guerra appears with her pink-striped hair and secrets. The vicious hunger Ivy inspires is frightening, not to mention suspicious. Vanessa’s instincts are rarely wrong, so when they tell her that Ivy’s appearance is a sign of bad things to come, she listens. She becomes determined to expose Ivy’s secrets. Vanessa tries to warn her brother, but Zander is too enamored with Ivy to pay attention to her conspiracy theories. One of them is right about Ivy… But if they lose control of their hunger, it won’t matter who is right and who is wrong. One little slip and they’ll all be dead.

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