Detention Land by Susan Orion
If the name Susan Orion rings a bell, it's because she was featured in January for a cushy feature interview on writing and her writing process.
Today we're revisiting Orion to explore her work young adult novel, Detention Land.
Detention Land follows Roger, a sour-mouthed teenage boy who constantly finds himself in detention. Detention, in Roger's case, consists of sitting in a closet-sized room where his only interactions occur between himself and an intercom with a siri-like voice that prods and questions him to irritation:
"Students who stepped out of line were quietly taken to the basement where the closet awaited them, with no windows but a small hanging light bulb and a dusty brown chair for them to sit in and think about their bad deeds."
Reminiscent of the Trunchbull's chokey, we actually come to find that the real detention Roger faces is in his mind. In Roger, Orion gives us a narrator that we come to understand as unreliable due to his own mental problems and insecurities.
Woven between scenes in 'detention' and Roger's journal entries, Orion creates a complex psychological portrait of a young man forever stuck in the detention of his pysche - will he be able to pull himself out? Readers will have to wait for Book 2 to find out!