Kurt Vonnegut passed away yesterday. He was not an author of young adult literature but he was certainly an author for young adults interested in literature--at least he was for me.
My parents had dog-eared paperback copies of Slaughterhouse Five and Cat's Cradle that I stumbled on sometime in junior high. I read them both at my parents' encouragement, but I don't think I really got much in those initial passes (though, thanks to Vonnegut's cameo in Rodney Dangerfield's Back to School, we all know that I was in good company). Whatever of Vonnegut's message went over my twelve-year-old head, what stuck was that here was a novel that was funny and absurd, but also very, very angry and serious. It was a bit of a revelation.
Vonnegut was one of those popular adult authors who had such a deeply ingrained sensitivity to the absurdity and injustice of the world that so-called adults have made that he was bound to appeal to young readers. And given the state of things, I suspect that appeal will survive his passing for a long time to come.
UPDATE: Be sure to check out John Green's tribute at Brotherhood 2.0. (I think John's zit is getting smaller, too.)