Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Points of view

"Provocative novels with strong themes and even stronger writing" - that's the tagline for "Point of View", Penguin's new site for promoting particularly "important" books for young adults (via Publishers Weekly):
Five backlist novels and two new titles are featured in Point of View, a fall marketing initiative from Penguin Young Readers Group. The campaign, which focuses on literary books with strong, somewhat challenging themes, entails consumer and trade components and aims to connect readers who embraced such novels as Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher and Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson to new books with a similar appeal. [...] Having a vehicle to promote books with edgy, real-life themes and high-quality writing is rewarding to Peskin as an editor. [...] “Reading books about challenging subjects can help a teen make a decision that could be life-saving. This is a great opportunity to promote novels that will encourage teens to reach out to each other and to help friends get through difficult times.”
Having read 3 of the currently displayed books (2 are excellent, one less so), I can vouch that these are indeed interesting, thought provoking picks. And for the most part good, seeing as even the one I disliked was well-written and just didn't suit my personal taste. What I particularly like about this story is how right the analysis is. Editor Joy Peskin learns from how teens reacted to "Thirteen Reasons Why" (recommended here) and from the incredible success of "Speak" (an excellent novel as well), recognizing that fiction of this kind is important not simply for its literary value but also for the topics it raises.

In the meantime, the site is fairly straight-forward - a synopsis for each book, an excerpt, reviews and the official site, alongside "book trailers". The design is attractive and friendly (though the button for returning to the main menu is slightly... tiny) but there's no "about the site" page. It's all very nice for those who have already read and appreciated one or more of the listed books but I have a feeling it'll have a tough time luring new readers unless it spruces up just a little. Or promotes its promotions. In the meantime, though, I commend the site's point and (so far) its execution. And as an added bonus, I am now curious to read the remaining titles...

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