Even though I have my own YA novel in development, I’m not much for reading what the market has to offer in that category (98% aimed at teenaged girls). However, I found this repackaging of 3 Christopher Pike novels from 1994/95 for $3.99 on clearance at Borders and I must say the opening chapter was one of the best I’ve read in a while. Sets up character, mystery, intrigue, suspense and plot beautifully in about a dozen pages. It’s a very well-rounded opening chapter with a great balance of backstory setup, character development and plot setup. I was hooked immediately. I told my wife who reads YA novels almost exclusively that “THIS is how you start off a novel!” I exclaimed. THIS is how you write in first-person! Put down the book you’re reading now and give this first chapter a shot.” She did and agreed.
The lead character, though female (a 5000 yr old vampire masquerading dangerously as a teen girl) has a voice that is immediately magnetic and captivating. She’s devious, yes, and certainly a badass to be reckoned with if what she narrates and does in the opening chapter is any indication. If more of the YA speculative fiction novels were less blatantly screaming “written exclusively for a (very big) niche and gender-specific audience”, and more about just telling a good story with a general appeal, I would be reading a lot more of them.
I’ll expand this initial review after I’ve read more.