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Sunday, November 7, 2010

Pets In YA (and Life)

Okay, so I just regaled my husband with the tales of all my childhood pets. He's heard them before, but I was just thinking about...dogs. So I talked about Pippin and Brinkly and all the insane German Shepherds in between.

Something I've been thinking about, as my son approaches the age of 8, is the importance of pets for children. And if children have pets, then teens also (unless there has been some sort of tragedy) still have pets.

But, and maybe this is indicative of the books I'm reading rather than what's out there, it seems like it's as likely to find PARENTS in YA as it is to find a pet.

Off the top of my head, I can think of the dog in Skin Deep by E. M. Crane. A great book that everyone should read. And the wonderful Manchee in The Knife of Never Letting Go. And now I'm scanning though the 65 books I've read this year. No pets. Unless werewolves are pets. No? I didn't think so.

It's a weird thing, because I am a cat lover, but I can't really imagine writing a book about a teen with a strong bond to their cat without int sounding...LAME. Still, there's always a cat on my lap when I'm writing.

So, that's something to ponder. As well as, does my kid need a dog? Do my 7 cats need a dog? Probably not. But that doesn't stop me from checking out the dogs at Petsmart and the crying over the stories they post on the crates.

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Blogger Nomes said...

" it seems like it's as likely to find PARENTS in YA as it is to find a pet. " LOL

I do notice when there are pets in YA - and I love it.

here's a few of my faves: in Jaclyn Moriarty's Feeling Sorry for Celia. Just beautifully done.

in C K Kelly Martin's One Lonely Degree

in Fiona Wood's Six Impossible Things - the pet was brilliant - and used as a plot device to let MC (14 y.o.boy) talk to - express his angst, and also gave him something to care deeply about. (dog got cancer - was quite moving) also, funny :)

And Sonya Hartnett's All My Dangerous Friends. Loved the dog in that - was absolutely another main character.

oops - starting to go one a bit :) I can think of a few more - they all seem to be male POV books for some reason (at least the ones I'm thinking of...)


my kids want pets too - we only have fish. I know. Lame... :)

November 7, 2010 at 8:27 PM  
Blogger Horserider said...

I had this exact same thought awhile back. Between my mom and I we have eight cats, a dog, a guinea pig, and a few assorted fish all in one house. And yet looking at my entire bookshelf I can't remember one book with a main character with pets. A pet that wasn't central to the story, anyway (like the horses in all my horse novels).

Now I can see why this would be true to fantasy novels because it's hard to have the MC running all over saving the universe with a dog in tow or having to leave the dog at home alone (since the parents are nowhere to be found) while they go off on adventures. But why the lack of pets in contemporary?

November 10, 2010 at 4:24 PM  

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