is a case in just what I dislike most about YA publishing: a stereotypical angsty teen; a clever bag of tricks like the Voice of Fate, an imaginary (or maybe quantum) dog, and a baby brother who thinks like a sweet, slightly ibberbuttle but wise old man (never met one myself, however) or perhaps Innocence Personified, none of which can substitute for real depth; the requisite brushes with Mortality (and Love); riffs on all the metaphysics du jour: chaos theory, causality, free will, the nature of reality, time. Have I missed one? If so, Rosoff certainly has not. Here is a sample of Justin’s insights in Meg Rosoff’s Just in Case, now winner of the prestigious Carnegie medal:
Of course, Justin thought, I’m part of his fate just as he’s part of mine. I hadn’t considered it from his point of view. Or from the point of view of the universe, either. It’s just a playing field crammed full of cause and effect, billions of dominoes, each knocking over billions more, setting off trillions of actions every second. A butterfly flaps its wings in Africa and my brother in Luton thinks he can fly.
Don’t get me wrong; there’s some wonderful YA work out there. But why do we persist far too often in underestimating the intellectual capabilities of teens? And if I read one more time about that infamous butterfly or ‘the thinning boundaries between reality’, I’m going eat my own pair of dice – unsalted.