Wednesday, August 05, 2009


by Joe Dunthorne

I was going to start this post by listing all the other great books about teenage boys that I've read, but instead here's a link to all the ones on this blog labelled "boys".

A more precise comparison could be made to Black Swan Green or Vernon God Little, both of which, like Submarine, are not cataloged as young adult fiction at my library. In terms of books marketed to young adults, the color and charm of the protagonist's voice bring to mind The Black Book and Spud. It also made me think of a book I haven't written up yet, Hard Cash (first in a trilogy by Kate Cann, which got me totally turned on to British YA books).

Anyway... this is one of those books that makes you totally fall for the narrator, to the point where you don't know if you actually want to be him or just want to date him and/or be his best friend. (I sometimes feel as if I want to eat them, or hug them so tightly their bodies become fused with mine — but that's a different, troublesome, and probably Freudian story.) In Submarine, Oliver falls sort-of in love, loses his virginity, sort of saves his parents' marriage, probably learns some lessons, and basically just lives the tumultuous life of a precocious Welsh 15-year-old boy, and is utterly charming and funny about it.

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