Ooops! French YA Is Alive and Well

Well, I stand corrected! In the Marais today, I ran across a small bookstore called La Manoeuvre that’s part of the “Libraires de l’est parisien” group. The clerk there gave me a veritable lesson in French YA fiction, which, it turns out, is absolutely thriving. She sent me home with three of her favorites (covers above), novels by Xavier-Laurent Petit (Itawapa), Marie-Aude Murail (La fille du docteur Baudoin), and Jean-Claude Mourlevat (Le Combat d’hiver, translated into English in 2009 as Winter’s End). (For French teachers out there, YA fiction in French, and in English when available here, is well represented on All have teen heroes and all deal with cutting-edge topics, such as resource exploitation, abortion, and the struggle for freedom. In addition, the literary establishment in France, which supports plenty of YA imprints, gives out YA awards each year. The two big ones are the Goncourt Lyceen and the Renaudot Lyceen. Sure goes to show the value of hand selling by an informed bookseller. And you know what? This particular group of bookstores even delivers–by bike! I’ll be back in two weeks for more from TFCB.