Once I read the book myself, I understood: that synopsis could easily have been rewritten about us. We, like Paul and Jennifer, had become best friends in what felt like the most important time of our teenage lives. We had troubled home environments, both reared mostly by our mothers. We didn’t live in Travis, NY, but we lived in Cleveland, TN, where we also feared growing into adult “zombies.”
What's more, adult literature has reinvented itself in YA's image. After all, Jonathan Franzen — contemporary fiction's high-culture mascot — has said that novels must be engaging and visceral enough to compete with television. The ascendance of young-adult literature is really the story of readable books losing their stigma.