The publisher of my book Storm Horse called it a little old-fashioned, a comment I never quite understood. After all, it was set in 1966. What else was it going to be? But reading More Than This, I began to understand why. The teenagers in that book are victims of child abuse, drunken stepfathers, people-smugglers. They’re gay, black, Eastern European and being pursued by a remorseless, deadly technological something through a post-apocalyptic world they don’t know how they got to. The pace is relentless. It’s really difficult to put down, in part because whole pages go by packed with one sentence paragraphs that make it extremely easy to read. Storm Horse, by contrast, is a gentle story about a 12-year-old boy who rescues a horse and gains some self-respect. There’s hardly a one-sentence paragraph in sight.
I’m not apologizing for my book, but compared to something like More Than This, it is old-fashioned. No argument there. (And one I couldn’t be bothered to have anyway.) What I’m trying to get at is that More Than This is very definitely modern. It takes teens, and their lives and concerns, their fears and confusions, seriously. It places them in a world where bad things happen and a happy ending isn’t guaranteed. It acknowledges chaos.
It’s absolutely riveting.