For years we thought about publishing books for a young adult audience. We’d say things like, “Well, it would be fun to publish YA, but…” and then fill in the blank: there’s so much competition or we’d have to learn so much or we wouldn’t know where to begin.
But here we are, beginning.
This fall will be the first time in our 92-year history that we’ve published a line of books for a teen audience. We’re starting with two books this season and will continue to publish a select list of smart, fearless books that explore uncharted territory.
One of them, Anna Perera’s Guantanamo Boy, is an important novel for teens—and perhaps adults as well. This astonishing story of a fifteen-year-old who finds himself incarcerated as an “enemy combatant” asks thought-provoking questions about right and wrong, truth and justice, and what it means to be human. Pat Scales, from the National Coalition against Censorship Council of Advisors, says “This may well become one of the most important teen novels about social justice of the new century.” Anyone who knows Whitman knows our dedication to publishing books on issues that matter, so Guantanamo Boy was the perfect choice for one of our first titles.
Then there’s Michael Ford’s The Poisoned House, which is close to my heart—a tense, elegant ghost story set in Victorian England that combines gothic intrigue with all the best elements of suspense. “Takes readers on a thrilling, chilling journey to a place where nothing is quite as it seems,” says New York Times bestselling author Wendy Corsi Staub. I fell in love with Abi, the book’s resilient and very real heroine, and knew as soon as I finished the story that I wanted it for our first teen list—it’s just a perfect example of the kind of absorbing, addictive novel that will become a mainstay on our list.
To celebrate our launch, we’re devoting the next two months of this blog to posts about teen books and publishing. It’s been quite a year at Albert Whitman, and we’ve got a lot to share about our continuing experiences in the Land of the Young Adult. Bring on YA Summer!