And there are millions of teens who read because they are sad and lonely and enraged. They read because they live in an often-terrible world. They read because they believe, despite the callow protestations of certain adults, that books-especially the dark and dangerous ones-will save them.
As a child, I read because books–violent and not, blasphemous and not, terrifying and not–were the most loving and trustworthy things in my life. I read widely, and loved plenty of the classics so, yes, I recognized the domestic terrors faced by Louisa May Alcott’s March sisters. But I became the kid chased by werewolves, vampires, and evil clowns in Stephen King’s books. I read books about monsters and monstrous things, often written with monstrous language, because they taught me how to battle the real monsters in my life.
And now I write books for teenagers because I vividly remember what it felt like to be a teen facing everyday and epic dangers. I don’t write to protect them. It’s far too late for that. I write to give them weapons–in the form of words and ideas-that will help them fight their monsters. I write in blood because I remember what it felt like to bleed.
I’ve read every draft of the script; they’ve run casting ideas and auditions past me; I’ve talked extensively to Josh Boone (the director) about the book and the characters and what mattered to me about the story.
But I’m not making the movie, and I don’t want to. I think Josh is a brilliant guy; I want him to bring his talents to this and create a movie that is good and interesting and beautiful. I don’t want to get in the way of that. So I do try to keep my distance and let them do their jobs. I really believe it’s going to be great, though.
- Me: Maybe I should sleep.
- Book: Hi, how's it going?
- Book: It's a little early don't you think?
- Book: Why not squeeze in a few chapters?
- Book: Or...
- Book: How about you just read me from start to finish?
- Book: You can always sleep tomorrow :)