"My childhood reading was blissfully unchaperoned. My parents were just happy I liked to read, and so I – in utter innocence – would wander into the public library and pick up any old thing. I read Harold Robbins' Celebrity when I was 13, for example. It was VERY educational.
"I survived, though. When I asked on Twitter for other "inappropriate" books people had read way too young, the list included Jilly Cooper, Irvine Welsh, Flowers in the Attic (by practically everyone) and lots and lots of Stephen King. All bookish young readers over-reach occasionally, and if they discover they like it, they keep on doing it. What a great way to establish reading as exciting and maybe even dangerous, eh?
"But there's more to adult books than adult material. There are a number of books that are actually rather better if read when you're a teen, some because they're entertaining contraband, some because it can never be too early to read something so wonderful, and some because, if you wait, you might have missed your chance forever."