16. Emergency Room – Caroline B. Cooney
I have often wondered when exactly ghost writers took over for popular young adult writers in the 1990s. Like Carolyn Keene, R. L. Stine seems to be a possible conglomerate, and sometimes it seems like Caroline B. Cooney might not be a real person either because her subject matter choices and writing quality are so strangely varied. She has some very good, very suspenseful books (like The Fog, and I imagine the rest of that series), some books that made a large impression on me in middle school (like Driver’s Ed and the Janie series), and then some that are just so trite I can’t quite imagine the same person being responsible for all of them. Perhaps I have not written enough books yet to fall into the feeling-trite-but-getting-published-anyway trap and maybe she was asked to write about hot topics by her publisher. Perhaps Caroline B. Cooney is to Emergency Room as David Cross is to Alvin and the Chipmunks. It’s a mystery. If she didn’t have many of her characters describe bad things as things that “rot,” I would be entirely convinced that Caroline B. Cooney is not an individual human.
Emergency Room is basically a slice of life story from The City. Yes, the City has no name because it is a city. It has a mall and a college where rich people go and in between the mall and the rich people college there are many gun battles over drug related topics and people who have no air conditioning. It also has a hospital where this intern guy is a total asshole and this intern girl worries about whether or not the asshole wants to date her and then she runs into her errant father and I’m not really giving anything away there because nothing ever comes of that or anything else that happens in the whole book. It just ends. In the City.