So, a few weeks ago, when I received my "author's questionnaire" from my publisher, it asked, among many other things, what novels affected me most as a YA writer. I named a few of my favorites, The Outsiders (S.E. Hinton), anything Judy Blume, and the glorious A Wrinkle in Time (if you're a tween or a teen and you saw the made for TV movie a few years ago, forget it, READ THE BOOK!).
Which is all well and good except that I forgot the one book that influence me the most, both as a an early reader and directly in terms of plot in The Pull of Gravity!
Don't Take Teddy, by Babbis Friis-Baastad (winner of the 1969 Mildred L. Batchelder Award, although I didn't know this then)! Oh good lord how I loved that book! I actually read this when I was around 8 or 9, but it is the first book I remember reading in one sitting, not being able to put down, literally, until I found out what happened. The book was about two brothers who escape to the Norweigan countryside when one of the brothers who is mentally handicapped (yep, we still called it that then, or maybe even the dreaded "R" word) accidentally throws a rock back onto a field instead of a baseball and hits a kid in the head.
There is actually an entire plot-line in The Pull of Gravity that is (hopefully) an honorary nod to a plot line in Don't Take Teddy.
What Children's/YA fiction has influenced you the most as a reader and/or a writer?