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Book Report: Forest Born

Gentle Readers may remember that I like Shannon Hale’s books ever so; Princess Academy is my very favorite, but I have enjoyed all the others I have read to some extent.

I wasn’t knocked out by Forest Born, though. It was fine; I’m glad I read it, there were some good bits.

The big problem for me, though, was something that I see a lot of in YA, and perhaps it’s just that the books are aimed at 12-year-olds. Here’s the general thing: The reader knows something about the main character that she herself does not know. We are given clues, and then it is usually made clear that the main character is in denial about it, which explains her not knowing the thing. Finally, she admits it to herself, and this self-knowledge becomes helpful in the Big Plot Resolution. Then, in the denouement, she tells her friends this thing about herself, and the friends are Not Surprised because, like the reader, they figured it all out in Chapter Six, and have frankly been sick of the whole thing.

I would guess that this is a particularly good thing for YA, because (a) younger folk likely get a bigger kick out of being smarter than the protagonist than middle-aged guys like me, and (2) younger folk are more likely to be dealing with self-discovery than middle-aged guys like me.

Tolerabimus quod tolerare debemus,

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