And I loved it.
It is a little dark and, at times, rather gory. But it also had me cracking up. From the forward (“Why Horror Has No Place in Children’s Books”) to the editor’s note at the end detailing all of the cuts they planned to make in the manuscript (before suspecting Anthony of being a serial killer), it’s pure dark humor. The first story in particular is a must-read for every aspiring author. It’s entitled, “The Man Who Killed Darren Shan.”
For those of you who don’t know, Darren Shan is a real author. He wrote the Cirque Du Freak books, about a boy who joins a paranormal circus filled with vampires and other creatures of the night. But in this story, we find that there was another man named Henry who worked for eleven years on his manuscript, called Ring of Fire, about…you guessed it…a boy who joins a paranormal circus filled with vampires and other creatures of the night. But when Henry is rejected and Darren Shan becomes an overnight bestseller, he slowly goes insane, and, well–the title tells it all.
Not that I’ve ever felt that way (cough cough Scott Westerfeld cough cough).
There are also killer mp3 players, a GPS you should never listen to, and a game show you’d give anything to win. Not to mention that I’m NEVER going to ride the subway in New York.
Now why would teens (particularly boys) be attracted to these kinds of stories? It’s the best of both worlds. Look at the incredible success of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid books. They don’t have any real plot to speak of, but they’re pure humor from beginning to end. And look at the success of authors like R.L. Stine or Stephen King. Teens love to be scared, and they love to be entertained. So dark humor? It’s a perfect blend.
Have you seen any dark humor books that are doing well lately?