Do readers want to read the type of stories I write? I must confess I’ve begun to wonder. Nearly every sale by new authors seems to be about strange, incredibly dark worlds that none of us mere mortals will ever visit let alone reside in. Personally I find that reassuring given how I’m not very fond of vampires, werewolves, or heretics. Ditto for serial killers, kidnappers, and rapists. Yet it is these very subjects that rule the day where publishers are concerned. The latest to come along is “Wither: The Chemical Garden Trilogy, Book One” by newcomer Lauren DeStefano.
To be fair, I haven’t read DeStefano’s book. But the lengthy review in this Sunday’s Fresno Bee makes me pretty confident I wouldn’t enjoy it. The basic plot centers around a 16-year old girl abducted by a “gatherer,” whose purpose is to kidnap all girls as soon as they become old enough to reproduce. Those girls deemed “undesirable” by said gatherer are killed or sold into prostitution. The others are used for breeding.
“Wither” is being pushed as a young adult novel by Simon & Schuster. Do tell. I can only conclude that I must come from an entirely different world, as I just can’t imagine how or why publishers would present young girls with a book like this. I don’t care if it somehow has a happy ending or whatever moral runs through its misguided plot. What good can be found in telling a story about girls kidnapped and forced to have sex? To quote the Bee’s reviewer, “Rhine is kidnapped from her Manhattan home and forced to live in a sprawling Florida mansion with two other teenage girls, all of whom are dressed in bridal gowns while sedated and married off to the same man, Linden.” Oh, and in case you’re wondering, this reviewer loved the book.
If this is the kind of story I have to write in order to place a book with a major publisher, I’m ready to call it a day.