Best 1969 YA & YYA Lit (2)
January 19, 2019
One in a series of 10 posts identifying Josh Glenn’s favorite 1969 YA & YYA adventure novels. Happy 50th anniversary!
John Rowe Townsend’s YA thriller The Intruder.
In my favorite John Rowe Townsend novel, the near-future YA thriller Noah’s Castle (1975), when a teenage boy finds his home transformed into a fortress, he must struggle — against centripetal and centrifugal forces — to decide for himself what the right course of action may be, even if that means defying paternal authority. This earlier novel, which is also a tense atmospheric thriller, finds our protagonist, 16-year-old Arnold Haithwaite, an adoptee driven out of his home by a creepy, manipulative stranger who claims to be the real Arnold Haithwaite, struggling with a similar predicament. The novel’s setting is very English — a nearly abandoned port town in England, inhabited by a few old-timers. Arnold makes a living guiding tourists across the silted-in harbor’s treacherous sands; as you can imagine, the sands (an a ruined church) become the scene of a dramatic chase and near-death experience, for Arnold and Jane, a love interest of sorts. Will Arnold learn the secret of his own identity — and stop the stranger from taking over his home?
Fun facts: John Rowe Townsend (1922–2014) was not only a talented writer of many “juvenile” mysteries, but author of the definitive Written for Children: An Outline of English-language Children’s Literature (a 1965 survey, revised most recently in 1990). The Intruder, which won Edgar and Horn Book awards, was adapted as a fondly remembered 1972 British TV series.
BEST SIXTIES YA & YYA: [Best YA & YYA Lit 1963] | Best YA & YYA Lit 1964 | Best YA & YYA Lit 1965 | Best YA & YYA Lit 1966 | Best YA & YYA Lit 1967 | Best YA & YYA Lit 1968 | Best YA & YYA Lit 1969 | Best YA & YYA Lit 1970 | Best YA & YYA Lit 1971 | Best YA & YYA Lit 1972 | Best YA & YYA Lit 1973. ALSO: Best YA Sci-Fi.
JOSH GLENN’S *BEST ADVENTURES* LISTS: BEST 250 ADVENTURES OF THE 20TH CENTURY | 100 BEST OUGHTS ADVENTURES | 100 BEST RADIUM AGE (PROTO-)SCI-FI ADVENTURES | 100 BEST TEENS ADVENTURES | 100 BEST TWENTIES ADVENTURES | 100 BEST THIRTIES ADVENTURES | 75 BEST GOLDEN AGE SCI-FI ADVENTURES | 100 BEST FORTIES ADVENTURES | 100 BEST FIFTIES ADVENTURES | 100 BEST SIXTIES ADVENTURES | 75 BEST NEW WAVE SCI FI ADVENTURES | 100 BEST SEVENTIES ADVENTURES | 100 BEST EIGHTIES ADVENTURES | 75 BEST DIAMOND AGE SCI-FI ADVENTURES | 100 BEST NINETIES ADVENTURES (in progress) | 1994 | 1995 | 1996 | 1997 | 1998 | 1999 | 2000 | 2001 | 2002 | 2003 | NOTES ON 21st-CENTURY ADVENTURES.