Colleen Mondor wonders why there aren't more YA mysteries. And now, so do I. After reading her post, I did a quick search of hornbookguide.com, querying for mystery and detective stories for YA (grades 7 and up)published in 2007. I got twenty hits, but most were, as Colleen suggested, for either general realistic or fantasy fiction with a mystery element rather than some kind of straight-up detective procedural. Years ago I looked at teen reading-interest surveys which consistently showed that kids named "mysteries" as their favorite genre, but their definition of such was broad--Flowers in the Attic, for example. But it seems to me there have been better eras for teen mysteries as traditionally defined: writers such as Jay Bennett, Lois Duncan and Joan Lowery Nixon used to turn them out regularly. (That was, however, back when YA was mostly thought of as junior high.) I dunno--maybe teen mystery fans are so used to crossing over to adult (the way adult fantasy fans cross over to juvenile) that they fail to constitute an imperative market? Or are the exigencies of the murder mystery, particularly, and those of teen life too incompatible to seem credible? Great, now I'm picturing Encyclopedia Brown chasing Hannibal Lecter . . . .
Are you out there, Nancy Werlin? What do you think?