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Author Blake Nelson on The Prince of Venice Beach And The Rebirth of YA Literature

TIME

Blake Nelson is the author of many critically acclaimed novels, including Recovery Road, the seminal coming-of-age novel Girl, and Paranoid Park, which was made into a feature film by Gus van Sant. His subject matter tends to emphasize the “adult” in Young Adult fiction, tackling mature themes like sexuality, death and addiction in a frank, sparse and unyielding manner that thrills his audience. Even as a 40something man, Nelson is able to wholly inhabit his always teenaged, frequently female protagonists, bringing them to life in a starkly realistic manner, sure to open the eyes of more than a few parents.

His latest novel, The Prince of Venice Beach, focuses on Robert “Cali” Callahan, a 17-year old runaway bunking down in Venice Beach, Ca., wiling away his hours roaming the boardwalk on his skateboard, playing basketball and trying to avoid trouble. When a private investigator asks him…

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