[livejournal.com profile] yhlee and I visited the YA section of Vroman's Bookshop in a quest for the ultimately awesomely angsty YA novel.

She proposed that single-syllable, single-word titles often predict great and melodramatic angst. For example, the oevre of Ellen Hopkins-- in verse-- Crank (meth addiction), Burned (child abuse), and Impulse (suicide). (I see that her upcoming book, Identical, is about "a father's twisted obsession for one of his twin daughters," no I am not kidding.) By other authors, Safe (mother is murdered, daughter is raped), Tweak (drug addiction), Cut (cutting), and Sold (child prostitution). The lone exceptions were Hoop, about basketball, and Prom, about the prom.

But then I found Jay's Journal, by the same woman who wrote Go Ask Alice, purportedly the diary of a teenager who gets slipped LSD at a party, then becomes an addict and dies, and another one, It Happened to Nancy: By an Anonymous Teenager, A True Story from Her Diary, which was purportedly the diary of a teenager who gets AIDS from being raped. The latter has an appendix claiming that condoms are unreliable and "renegade sperm" can charge your vagina and get you pregnant even if there was no penetration.

Jay's Journal is purportedly the diary of a boy who commits suicide after getting involved in the occult. The introduction warns, The voice of every kid hooked on drugs, alcohol, or the occult joins the sad chorus, "Not me! I didn't think it could happen to me. I WAS SURE I COULD HANDLE IT.

The back cover promised animal sacrifice and Ouijia Boards, and the contents did not disappoint. It was awesome. It had orgies, psychic powers, rape, channelling, tarot cards, LSD, homophobia, cutting (that was when I literally fell to the floor), wangas (occult objects from "Haiti, land of voodoo"), racism, chanting, and pot.

Other highlights included Bootan worship (I think that was Satan spelled with a B. And an O.) and the sacrifice in a graveyard of a "teeny mewing kitten" after a Bootanic wedding ceremony.

And then the real fun begins! Jay and his cult fiend Satanic druggie friends begin writing in white on black paper. They find a bull and electrocute it with a stun gun. Each organ was immediately sealed in a fruit jar. (Paging Drs. Muraki and Jezebel Disraeli.) They drink the blood and puke.

Then Satan comes after them, and two of them die in Mysterious Car Crashes, and Jay shoots himself in the head. The afterword says, apparently not sarcastically, We feel that Jay lived a pretty full life in his short 16 1/2 years. I'll say!

In conclusion, I leave you with this immortal line of Jay's, and no, it does not make any more sense in context:

The saber-toothed crotch crickets are leaving their abode.

I feel those words of wisdom embody a sentiment we all could live by.


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