UGLYVILLE: Writing an Untypical Young Adult Book
My new novella UGLYVILLE has just been released, and, like my debut novel DEAD SIZE, I once again can’t really tell you who the audience is for it. A Young Adult book perhaps… if the young adult is a bit wonky.
While I describe it as a True Crime-inspired (it’s presented as nonfiction, in diary form) Young Adult book, I didn’t consider it a YA story as I was writing it. It falls into that very broad category because its first person narrator Verona Cassidy is a fifteen-year-old girl.
The reader, however, quickly discovers that her character is mentally unbalanced and emotionally unstable, hence her often melodramatic journal entries are rather unreliable (at least as far as her perception of events is concerned).
The majority of YA books I’ve come across are fantasy, paranormal, coming-of-age, and romance. I suppose UGLYVILLE could be labelled a coming-of-age romance… about a budding sociopath. The story, while not gory or graphic, has a very dark streak running through its theatrical demonstrations of obsessive passion. I think the book would be better approached as the self-portrait of a disturbed, criminally-developing mind. THE FAULT IN OUR STARS this is not.
So then, what kind of reader will enjoy UGLYVILLE?
Those who appreciate unconventional storytelling, being immersed in the morally-skewed, mono-view world of a damaged and disreputable individual. Verona Cassidy is a case study in abnormal psychology; UGLYVILLE serves as its supporting documentation.