Best YA & YYA Lit 1968 (9)

By: Joshua Glenn
January 11, 2018

For several years now, I’ve argued — here at HILOBROW, as well as in the UNBORED books I’ve co-authored — that the Sixties (1964–1973) were a golden age for YA and YYA adventures. This post is one in a series of 10 identifying my favorites from 1968. Happy 50th anniversary!

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Michael O’Donoghue satirical picture-book The Incredible, Thrilling Adventures of the Rock (ill. Philip Wende).

Not since the 1892 Sherlock Holmes story “The Adventure of the Cardboard Box” has an adventure yarn been saddled with so unprepossessing a title; anti-prepossessing would be a more apt term, here, since we’re dealing with a Michael O’Donoghue joint. One of the most fiercely negative members of his double-negative generational cohort, O’Donoghue conjured up this children’s book near the apex of his satirical career, i.e., just after the serialization in Evergreen Review of his brilliant graphic novel The Adventures of Phoebe Zeit-Geist (ill. Frank Springer), and just before he joined the National Lampoon. Never has there been an adventure story like this one; and never has a children’s story ended in such a soul-searing fashion… except, perhaps, for O’Donoghue’s own “The Little Engine That Died.” I read The Incredible, Thrilling Adventures of the Rock as a child, and it changed me forever; for better or worse, you can decide.

Fun fact: O’Donoghue and Wende sold this book to Random House’s Christopher Cerf, who’d worked on the Harvard Lampoon with George W.S. Trow… which led directly to O’Donoghue helping start up National Lampoon.

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Let me know if I’ve missed any adventures from this year that you particularly admire. Also, please check out these additional lists.

BEST SIXTIES YA & YYA SERIES: 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.

The 200 Greatest Adventure Novels of All Time. THE OUGHTS (1904–13): 1905 | 1906 | 1907 | 1908 | 1910 | 1911 | 1912 | 1913. THE TEENS (1914–23): 1915 | 1916 | 1917 | 1918 | 1920 | 1921 | 1922 | 1923. THE TWENTIES (1924–33): 1925 | 1926 | 1927 | 1928 | 1930 | 1931 | 1932 | 1933. THE THIRTIES (1934–43): 1935 | 1936 | 1937 | 1938 | 1940 | 1941 | 1942 | 1943. THE FORTIES (1944–53): 1945 | 1946 | 1947 | 1948 | 1950 | 1951 | 1952 | 1953. THE FIFTIES (1954–63): 1955 | 1956 | 1957 | 1958 | 1960 | 1961 | 1962 | 1963. THE SIXTIES (1964–73): 1964 | 1965 | 1966 | 1967 | 1968 | 1970 | 1971 | 1972 | 1973. THE SEVENTIES (1974–83): 1975 | 1976 | 1977 | 1978 | 1980 | 1981 | 1982 | 1983. The goal, eventually, is to publish a Top 10 Adventures list for every year of the 20th century.

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Adventure, Lit Lists

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