Hip, cool, vivacious and a li'l confused. It's difficult to slot the youngsters in one particular category; and so Penguin Books India's INKED, an imprint focusing on
Young Adult Fiction and Non-Fiction, hopes to connect with youngsters by giving them a chance to pick up books from a wide variety of genres.
The three inaugural titles, to be available in bookstores later this month, include Eliza Crewe’s Cracked — the first book of the Soul Eater trilogy — is a tale of the war between good and evil. Karma by Cathy Ostlere, is the story of how a young girl facing the demands of two cultures endures personal tragedy, and yet learns to forgive, accept and love. Vibha Batra’s Seventeen and Done (You Bet!), sequel to Sweet Sixteen, is set in high school and taps into emotions like romance, fashion, friendship and longing.
Talking about crafting content for youngsters, Ameya Nagarajan, says, “The dominant theme of the introductory titles, and those in offing, is that of the lives of young people – whether fantasy, sci-fi, or ordinary teenagers going through a difficult period. I kept an eye out for manuscripts that would meet the format. I kept browsing through fantasy and sci-fi forums, and when I met people who had writing talent and an interest in the genre, I asked them if they had thought of writing a book.”
However, Ameya is reluctant to call the new titles as the voice of young adults.
“I don’t think the genre lends itself to such sweeping statements, because teenagers are the hardest segment of people to categorise! The reason we chose these books was because each had a strong voice that we felt spoke to us and was something that young people could relate to.”
The INKED titles which hope to cater to readers between the ages of 13-21 seem a little wide-spread. This group is also heavily into gaming and chatting. Ask Ameya how the imprint will manage to hold their attention, and she makes her point with, “At the end of the day, whatever the age, a great story will capture and hold interest.”
Ameya also spills the beans on the name 'INKED'.
“The name is a play on words: Ink conjures up images of writing and printing but also in modern slang refers to tattoos. That’s how great words are; they can have secret meanings depending on the angle from which you’re looking at them. They can be a window to expression and creativity—just like tattoos are.”
* A science-fiction novel by Shiv Ramdas
* Story of how Unmukt Chand made his mark on Under-19 cricket in India
* A poignant coming-of-age novel by award-winning author Ranjit Lal
* Best-selling novelist Meenakshi Reddy Madhavan’s hit high school drama