One is a powerful and sometimes wrenching read; how does Crossan feel younger readers process such strong subject matter? “I think the issues in the book are dealt with in a way that’s delicate enough that a child can self-censor. There are some moments in it that younger readers haven’t picked up on. I think that’s really important because I’m not in the business of writing brutal stories; I’m in the business of writing stories for children that are palatable for children. I think if you want to write an adult story, write an adult story. I have no interest in disturbing young children or exposing them to things that they are not ready to be exposed to.”
What does Crossan think of the explosion in YA crossover fiction, with many books being marketed at adults as well as younger readers? “I think it’s great for adults to be reading YA, especially as a way for parents or teachers to connect to younger people. Every child is different so when it comes to a child reading YA, it might be that one 11-year-old is ready for it and one 14-year-old is not ready for it. I think it just depends on the individual.
“I’m not advocating censorship — I’m saying a teen novel is a teen novel and an adult novel is an adult novel and if I wanted to write an adult novel, I would do that. The quality of YA is so high, there is so much literary fiction now; you’ve got John Boyne, David Almond, and Deirdre Sullivan, whose book Needlework is a phenomenal example of a crossover novel that deals with a very difficult subject delicately.”