Feed is YA science fiction, set in a future America where children’s brains are permanently connected to the Internet soon after they are born. The book was a finalist for the National Book Award in 2002 (and Anderson was to win it four years later, in 2006, for The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation, Vol. 1: The Pox Party).
How to Meet Boys is mainstream YA about two high school friends who, well, meet boys while working in a touristy Minnesota town one summer. I’ve lost count of how many books Clark has written. She cut her teeth ghostwriting middle grade series like The Baby-sitters Club (without byline credit), and went on to write for young adults. Needless to say, she can plot like a pro.
Aside from very different subgenres, these books have a lot more in common than what you might assume at first glance:
- Strong, interesting, and trouble-prone main characters (two in Boys, which is written using an alternating first-person POV).
- Settings that function like a minor character: one a dystopian cybernightmare, the other a summer tourist town that mocks the stereotypes.
- YA romance plots (easy to overlook in Feed, but really the core of the story).
- Central internal conflicts where the main characters must learn to grow up a bit.
I recommend both, especially for the teen reader in your life.