A couple years ago I stumbled across a book called Black Swan Green, by David Mitchell. He become one of my favorite authors and I quickly devoured his other novels, including Cloud Atlas (I recommend reading the book and skipping the movie!), Ghostwritten, Number 9 Dream and The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet.
Black Swan Green is the story of a 13-year-old boy named Jason, growing up in England during the year 1982. Jason, in many ways, is a typical adolescent: worrying about being popular and fitting in, trying to make friends, attracting a first crush, vacillating between supreme self-confidence and intense self-doubt, and fighting with his sister and parents.
What appealed to me most about Black Swan Green was Mitchell’s astounding ability to capture the voice of a young adolescent. Mitchell puts the reader inside Jason’s head where it accurately sounds the way an adolescent thinks. As Jason matures over the course of the single year of the book, Mitchell carefully calibrates Jason’s voice to reflect a growing maturity and understanding of the world.
Check out a review of the book from The New Yorker (2006).