When // romance is on the backburner in this one

My qualms with young adult (YA) fiction — as I’ve not yet dabbled in YA nonfiction — begins in the execution of, well, everything: character development, plot, setting, romance and relationships…

There’s a saying that goes something like,

“If you keep reading YA and hating it, maybe you just hate YA and should stop,”

and I dislike that quote because my issue isn’t always that kids are having to resolve things themselves — it’s that so much of the YA fiction I’ve read has been so poorly executed, especially when romance is in the mix. I understand teen hormones and that teens feel so much, but I dislike reading YA as if it’s being written by the teens themselves when the authors are full-fledged adults.

When is a great example of the kind of YA I want to read. Its mystery and suspense is akin to Teen Wolf, romance on the back burner, teens reprimanded when they get too big for their breeches, and character development driving the plot.

WhenWhen by Victoria Laurie
Published by Disney-Hyperion on 6 September, 2016
Genre: Contemporary, Fantasy, Fiction, Mystery, Paranormal, Thriller, Young adult
# pages: 336
Source: Borrowed
Rating: ★★★★★

Maddie can see the date when anyone will die, or has died, by looking at their forehead. One thing leads to another, and she and her best friend become suspects in a series of murders.

Answers are provided, beautifully.

The tension builds like a roller coaster approaching the top of a hill, and the climax takes you for a thrill.

It’s addicting.

I opted to borrow it from my teen cousins (first cousins once removed, as they’re Charlise’s kids) after reading the synopsis and remembering a comic I was reading for a bit — His Barcode Tattoo — that I inevitably lost interest in because the romance was a bit too annoying for me. (Like, there was no gay, and I struggle to take interest in things lacking in gayness.)

I have no qualms about this book. It doesn’t end on a cliffhanger, answers all the questions, offers several plot twists, and is told from a level of maturity and sophistication that I crave in my YA reading ventures.

The publisher (Disney-Hyperion) surprised me, because the Disney Channel adheres to strict language and image guidelines, but When contains more realistic conversation and scenes — that is, it’s not sugarcoated or diluted, as Disney does like to do with its shows and movies. I’m well aware of Disney/ABC having adult shows, too, I was just…impressed, is all.

Love this post?

Support me by subscribing to my blog and/or buying me a cuppa:

Leave a comment

Comments on this post

I haven’t heard of this book, but it sounds very interesting! I haven’t actually read a book that isn’t focused on self-development recently but this sounds like a good one to break that cycle. 😊

Reply to this »

I actually just finished this book last year. My students used it as a book club option and really enjoyed it! I teach a lot of the classics, but a good YA lit pick is always fun to read, too! I thought “When” was easy to read and kept me engaged!

Reply to this »