At Slate, Stephen Metcalf provides an interesting meditation on John Knowles' A Separate Peace, on the occasion of its 50th anniversary. The piece is well worth reading, though unfortunately devolves into a sadly misinformed commentary based on a narrow and thus suspect idea of what YA was rather than what it actually is. He also seems to think that modern YA lacks voice–WOW. So perhaps best to skip the section after the jump. That said, here's a nice little tidbit: "To posterity it offers up a minor curiosity: its portrait of Brinker Hadley, a cunning verbal torturer based on Knowles' Exeter schoolmate Gore Vidal. (Vidal has publicly admired the novel.) Hadley is a campus cynic-dandy of a style Exeter specializes in developing. Taking the type broadly, James Agee, Dwight MacDonald, Gore Vidal, and George Trow all attended Exeter, all experienced the splendor of its reproving coldness, and each, in a way, spent a lifetime writing his way out from under it."
The New York Times profiles the new ambassador of young people's literature, the one and only Katherine Paterson: "She has never considered writing for adults. "When people say, 'Don't you want to write for adults?' I think, why would I want to write a book that would be remaindered in six weeks?" Ms. Paterson said. "My books have gone on and on, and my readers, if they love the book, they will read it and reread it. I have the best readers in the world."