Review of The Tree House by Doug Thayer

Title: The Tree House

Author: Douglas Thayer

Publisher: Zarahemla Books

Genre: Adult Fiction

Year Published: 2009

Number of Pages: 384

Binding: Trade Paperback

ISBN10: 0978797175

ISBN13: 978-0978797171

Price: $16.95

Reviewed by Jonathan Langford

Note: I received a free copy of this book from the author, in trade for a free copy of my book, No Going Back.

Harris Thatcher has pretty much everything a 15-year-old boy could want, in his opinion at least: a perfect dad, a good family, and Luke, his best friend. He’s a good Mormon kid living in Provo, Utah, where his dad is a high school science teacher. It’s summer, with swimming and fishing to look forward to and high school starting in the fall. His only complaint is that World War II is winding down, so it’ll be over before he can be part of it.

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Some Definitional Thoughts About YA (Mormon) Fiction

Author’s note: This started as a post on my own blog on whether or not No Going Back is a YA novel. I showed it to William Morris, who suggested that I post it here. I quote from his comments: “I know you are worried about readers tiring of hearing about No Going Back, but this blog entry a) is literary criticism, which is the heart of AMV and b) tackles what is becoming a core question for Mormon fiction, imo, because of the huge number of authors finding success with YA and/or work for middle readers — that is, is YA capable of providing real literary value to Mormon letters and if so what level of “˜mature/explicit’ content can it deal with without alienating Mormon readers.”

So I’ve posted different versions (with different titles) in the two places. The version at my blog focuses on the original question of whether No Going Back is a YA novel. The version here retains most of that content, but also considers some more general questions about the nature and status of YA novels, particularly in the Mormon universe.

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