As part of Hollywood Crush's Best YA Novel of 2012 poll, we've enlisted a handful of our favorite teen lit writers to weigh in on the tomes that touched them this year. Next up is Eliot Schrefer, author of "Endangered."
I went into reading Patricia McCormick's "Never Fall Down" hoping to find ways to dislike it (McCormick and I were both finalists for the National Book Award, and I guess I was feeling competitive). A book about the Killing Fields, with a blurb by Archbishop Desmond Tutu? I was ready for guilty manipulations and pat battlefield epiphanies. Instead I got a moving, intimate and gritty retelling of a real boy’s (Arn Chorn-Pond) experience of being pressed into military service by the Khmer Rouge. A veteran journalist and poetic writer, McCormick knows to keep her story grounded in specific, vivid detail, especially at her novel’s most harrowing moments: Sometime screaming, too, and then we hear the crack, like splitting coconut. After that, quiet. Small sound, cracking the skull.