Before I took on poetry, I had written several middle-reader/young adult novel manuscripts, none of which I was able to get published, even given the efforts of an experienced agent. So I stuck them in a drawer and left them for years. I pulled them out recently to see if I could breathe life back into them. But then I decided I’d better get a sense of what contemporary YA literature is like these days, so I’ve been reading nonstop. Although none of the contemporary work is as great as my old Madeleine L’Engle favorites, I must say this reading adventure has rekindled my faith in fiction. I long ago became exhausted be the efforts of adult fiction and read it rarely. But this foray into YA, even though I see formulas and recurring issues-du-jour, these novels are not trying to be literary, or post-modern, or otherwise fawncy. These books are just grappling without much pretension with the two questions fundamental to the human experience: Who the hell am I? and What am I doing here? They seem like worthy questions to ponder in any genre.