There are a couple of book that I read and subsequently threw away in disgust which other readers often cite as uniquely brilliant. One is A Confederacy of Dunces which is an affront to humanity and not funny at all; another is Catcher In the Rye.
Without going into a deep analysis of why Salinger’s book sucks, I’ll just recognize that in general, girls find it stupid and boys tend to run it up the flagpole as they march into awkward adolescence. I emphasize girls and boys here because no one over the age of fourteen should ever be caught reading Catcher In the Rye.
But this is not to say that every juvenile coming-of-age novel is dreck (although most are). I believe that it takes a special skill to write good juvenile literature. Today they are several warnings that signify dreck: Does it pertain to zombies or vampires? Does the adult author have a strong message to suffocate the youthful sense of wonder and adventure? Does it appear to promise far too much to the reader? Is the author hip to the argot briefly used thirty years ago in Nebraska? Is Fabio on the cover?