Given that I do not subscribe to the aliens-in-space-ships-carried-really-good-stories-far-and wide theory of why early cultures in every corner of the world shared certain folktales, I am completely baffled by the modern phenomenon of the pop-up genre. It makes no sense.

I spent years working on Where It Began, blissfully unaware that hunched over other laptops from coast to coast, other writers were birthing teenaged girls who got into car accidents, got bopped on the head, and lost memory/lost loved ones/lost a sinister secret/lost it.

And yet, we were. When Where It Began came out in 2012, it was part of a suddenly fully formed mini-genre: girl bopped on head in (not always) fiery inferno.

Interestingly, our books are very different. They are tragic, comic, cynical, uplifting – and all, I might add, completely wonderful.

The reason I’m thinking about this is that I’ve just read Colin Fischer. Which I loved. And which is no less lovable because it is – I’m sure inadvertently—part of another pop-up genre: kid with Aspergers Syndrome solves crime.

But why, I wonder, why, why, why, were writers suddenly inspired to explore the world of the Aspie detective? Why was I – simultaneously with assorted others – moved to subject our teenage girl protagonists to being bopped on the head in a mess of charred metal?

It’s almost enough to make you believe in a very quirky, strangely specific, collective unconsciousness shared primarily by debut YA novelists.


AuthorAnn Stampler