Books by Lorie Ann Grover

Books by Lorie Ann Grover
Kirkus Starred Review, Firstborn: "A fantasy that reads like a lost history tome and deftly examines issues of gender...An engrossing story with welcome depths."

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

What a Girl Wants: The Girl Detective

Colleen's latest post for What a Girl Wants just went up over at Chasing Ray. This time she asked the roundtable about the girl detective in YA lit. Where has she gone? Here's my response:

Lorie Ann Grover. I, too, was a Nancy Drew fiend, Colleen. I loved her intelligence, independence, and success. The Spider Sapphire Mystery was one of my most treasured possessions. Yes, there are middle grade detective mysteries popping up now. Michael D. Beil's The Red Blazer Girls: The Ring of Rocamadour launched in April to a Booklist starred review. But you are right. That's middle grade. However, here's a YA detective heroine: Kirsten Miller's Kiki Strike. She's amazing. There's one. Yay! It's interesting to note that she is younger when the series begins, and the series has fantastic elements that raise it above realism. Hm.

I see two scenarios. The first could be that our teens today generally won't pause to believe in the possibility of a teen detective. Is the concept too far-fetched? There may not be a tolerance for the fictional character, or is there?

The second possibility is that authors will be bringing mysteries to the table soon. Right now, we see a resurgence of sci-fi, after a gothic/horror fantasy trend. In the natural cycle, maybe authors are beginning to tap into their mysterious stories with girl detectives in one form or another, and we'll see the works hit the shelves in a couple years. Kiki will be waiting.

I've just thought of a third option. Maybe there are girl detectives in YA lit, but they take non-traditional forms. Aren't most strong female protagonists searching for answers in a mystery? Whether they be sleuthing like Nancy Drew or wandering through adolescence searching for their identity like Georgia Nicolson. Whichever, let's hope they inspire readers to take the wheel of their own blue convertibles.

Be sure to check out what everyone else had to say. I loved Melissa Wyatt's point:

"The MG-aged reader still believes in a straight-forward black-and-white form of justice. For the adult reader, they understand the complexity of real life but still hope justice will win out in the end. and still carry that hunger for justice. But maybe it's too much to ask of the YA reader, who is suddenly surrounded by injustices of a more immediate nature than distant crime, that can't be righted by the same means. Maybe it's just not the right time for that kind of intellectual escape."

I'm thinking this may be so...

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