by SR Johannes
Amazon, Kindle, Barnes and Noble
16 year old Grace has lived in the Smokies all her life, patrolling with her forest ranger father who taught her about wildlife, tracking, and wilderness survival.
When her dad goes missing on a routine patrol, Grace refuses to believe he’s dead and fights the town authorities, tribal officials, and nature to find him.
One day, while out tracking clues, Grace is rescued from danger by Mo, a hot guy with an intoxicating accent and a secret. As her feelings between him and her ex-boyfriend get muddled, Grace travels deep into the wilderness to escape and find her father.
Along the way, Grace learns terrible secrets that sever relationships and lives. Soon she’s enmeshed in a web of conspiracy, deception, and murder. And it’s going to take a lot more than a compass and a motorcycle (named Lucifer) for this kick-butting heroine to save everything she loves.
Today, I have S.R. Johannes on my blog with a guest post directly related to her book. I found it very interesting and hope you do too!
Thank you Shelli for your post, I think it points out something very true and it made me think.
Young adult books - what is too violent?
I read a comment about my book, Untraceable, last week that made me think about violence as a topic. The comment said that because my book had some graphic things happen to animals, it might be considered too adult for YA. It might be too violent for teens.
This comment interested me.
It made me question – what is too violent for teens? I mean, Hunger Games has kids killing kids. Teen books touch on self-mutilation, rape, zombie killing, vampire killings, dystopic worlds, monsters, suicide. But those topics are fine for teens.
But because my book has some animal abuse in it and touches on animal poaching, suddenly it is too violent for teens? But why?
And I realized something. Is it the realness of it? Not the topic itself.
Dystopic books and paranormal books – even if they are very violent at times – seem okay for teens because we – as readers – KNOW in our hearts and in our minds that those things are NOT real. And that they would never happen. Kids will never kill kids in an arena for fun. Vampires will never rip the throats out of their wolf enemies. And most likely (though some may disagree :), we will never be chopping the heads off of zombie killers.
These “fake” topics allow teens/us to be detached from these books b/c they is an underlying barrier of them knowing it could never happen. This keeps them slightly removed. It separates us from the reality of it.
My book is a wilderness thriller that skims the issue of bear poaching. There are only about 10 pages out of 320 pages (especially in 1 or 2 specific chapters) that touch on this issue in depth. Yet, even those 10 pages are the ones that stick out in reader’s mind. Part of me says, good. That means you care.
But why does it bother so many people more than the Hunger Games and the Zombie Apocalypse? Because it is REAL. Bear poaching and mutilation really happen. Even today, in a world where we think they don’t, they do. We just don’t hear about it. And realizing those horrible things are real, is disturbing, which make the book seem more violent.
Also – we are more desensitized to people killings and humans dying. But when it comes to animals, we pay attention. Think of Independence Day, after a tunnel of people have been burned by a huge fireball, all we care about is that the dog make it out of the car and into the bunker. We don’t care that 100,000 people just burned. We care about the one dog that MIGHT not make it. I guess because animals seem more defenseless – so then it becomes more violent in the readers mind.
When writing Untraceable, I wanted to write a book that said something important to teens. That touched on real issues that they could do something about.
I hope these few pages do touch people. As violent as they may seem, I hope they surprise a teen/reader, raise awareness about the black bear’s plight, and cause enough emotion for teens to act.
Thanks Shellie and based on reviews it looks like a lot of people are caring what you wrote about! My review will be coming later in the year. Remember the NetGalley crazy.