Young adult (YA) lit has a simplicity that creeps up on you. It’s about falling in love and obligations to the world outside of our daily concerns. And it’s usually disturbing as hell, reflective of how, though we say we lose innocence, as we grow older we really lose darkness. We lose insight into a mysterious world full of wonderful and awful possibilities where so much is at stake.
Seanan McGuire’s Dusk or Dark or Dawn or Day follows Jenna, a ghost-girl who works at a suicide hotline in New York, trying to return a debt she feels she owes to the living while looking for the spirit of her sister.
Jenna’s sister Patty left home in West Virginia to live in New York, where she lies to her family about her wonderful life. After Patty ends her life and Jenna drowns in a ravine while mourning her sister, Jenna haunts New York, falling in love with its alleys and diners and rat witches(!), and thinking about the solace and sadness her sister would have experienced on the same streets.
When I was a teen, I made my sister vanish, and she did the same for me. Once, we were ten and eight, acting out a scene from Fiddler on the Roof in the field, and the next thing we knew, we both were in college. I tell her I ran to a boulder in the woods when our mom would harm herself, and she says that she was there too, and how could we have been at the rock at the same time? [Read more…]