“We went to the moon to have fun, but it turned out to completely suck.” – Feed by M.T. Anderson.
What’s so great about this first line? It’s familiar, as I’ve certainly heard and said similar things: ‘We went to the movie, but it sucked.’ It’s strange; I don’t know anyone who has gone to the moon. Is the narrator speaking of the real moon or something he only calls the moon?
It also, if the narrator is speaking of the real moon, makes me mistrust him. How can a person completely dismiss a place that’s so large? There’s nothing to like about an entire moon? I know many people read to identify with the narrator, and I often do too; but other times I simply need to be intrigued by the narrator, which I certainly am when I suspect I have to doubt most of what he says. Unreliable characters might not be trustworthy companions, but they keep me turning the pages.
If you also like not-entirely-to-be-trusted narrators in your YA speculative fiction, try:
M.T. Anderson’s Feed.
Shirley Jackson’s We Have Always Lived in a Castle. (not strictly speculative fiction, but incredibly creepy)
Edgar Allen Poe’s “The Tell-Tale Heart”, as well as others of his stories.
Jonathan Stroud’s The Bartimeaus Sequence.
Megan Whalen Turner’s The Thief.
Gene Luen Yang’s American Born Chinese.