Posts Tagged: YA Literature
Anyone who made it through high school English can probably recall reading a story or two about young protagonists finding themselves in the absence of parental guidance. From whence does this orphan trope come? And why?
Is this what all of us innately fear—the state of being in charge of our destinies, the only ones responsible for our own actions and decisions?
Asexuality is often left out from discussions around queer visibility in pop culture. At Bitch Media, Lucy Mihajlich shares how she was told by an agent that her young adult dystopian trilogy, Interface, could be the next Hunger Games—but that it needed romance:
It’s particularly hard to find asexual characters in young adult fiction, which is unfortunate since adolescence is when most people begin to discover their sexual orientations.
Graeme Whiting, headmaster of the Acorn School (motto: “Have courage for the truth”) of Nailsworth, Great Britain, recently published a blog post condemning “sensational” fantasy novels such as the Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, and Hunger Games series that feature “dark,” “insensitive,” and “addictive” subjects....more
Beverly Cleary guided generations of girls and boys alike through the rocky, messy, color- and dream-filled days of childhood with her long-running Ramona series, which manages to stay at the forefront of the children’s literary scene even fifty years after the release of its first installment in 1955....more
A discussion with your kid about the birds and the bees might be one of the more intimidating moments of parenthood, but YA novelists can lend a hand. When YA writers confront modern issues of sex, rape, consent, abuse, and gender, they help parents—and schools—introduce these sensitive topics:
Consent doesn’t even have to be about sex, per se, says Earl Sewell, who has written several young adult novels, including one where a boy pressures a girl to send explicit photos after they start sexting.
The Library of Congress is, for the first time, naming a graphic novelist as the Ambassador for Young People’s Literature. The honor goes to Gene Luen Yang, author of the graphic novels American Born Chinese and Boxers & Saints, among others....more
We should all implant these terrific girls in our brains. Reading excellent kid’s books as an adult reveals the world to us in new ways, reminds us of childhood and teaches us about our young selves from a new perspective....more
YA authors now find themselves walking the fine line between fiction and reality. They have a duty to portray illness accurately, as they must avoid harmfully romanticising dying…they must also be careful not to cross into territory which is too upsetting.
With so many contemporary young adult novels taking place in dystopian settings, we’re beginning to wonder whether it’s even possible to come of age in a world that isn’t on the brink of collapse. Soon enough, paragon network of teenage melodrama The CW will adapt Little Women to the “dystopic streets of Philadelphia,” thereby robbing us of one of the last remaining relics of a time when children could grow up without reference to apocalypses past and present....more
For the New York Times Magazine, A.O. Scott argues about the “slow unwinding” of patriarchy in American culture, drawing on modern television, history, and literature. In part responding to Ruth Graham’s essay at Slate, in which she urges against adults reading young adult fiction, Scott offers a different perspective:
Instead, notwithstanding a few outliers like Henry James and Edith Wharton, we have a literature of boys’ adventures and female sentimentality.
Lev Grossman has given the Harry Potter series an inspirational nod more than once, and he does it again over at Vulture. But he’s just as fond of The Bourne Identity, Marcel Proust, and the music of Metric:
I don’t always listen to music when I’m writing, but when I do listen to music, I listen to Metric.
Beverly Cleary has been held in high esteem in the minds of just-blooming young readers for generations. But that does not mean that her writing isn’t valuable in deciphering adult struggles too:
With all the worries we have as adults, it’s natural to look at childhood as idyllic and worry-free and it’s far too easy to forget how hard it is to be a kid.
Young adult fiction has never been more popular among grownup-adults—more than half of YA books are sold to people over the age of 18. There isn’t anything wrong with the occasional guilty pleasure, or even in indulging in topics that are, by definition, childish, says Ruth Graham, writing at Slate, but should we be concerned that we’re all losing some perspective?...more
S.E. Hinton, a woman, arguably pioneered the young adult genre of literature. So why is it that women are seen as secondary in this genre, and as less valuable as their male counterparts? Book Riot explores this question, and the powerful effects that narratives written for young women can have....more
It’s your two favorite formerly anonymous publishing-industry-bloggers-turned-YA-novelists in one post!
Which is to say: Hilary T. Smith (aka The Intern) interviewed Sarah McCarry (The Rejectionist) about her new book All Our Pretty Songs. A preview:
There is also a weird cultural assumption that if a book is published as young adult it is obligated to provide some sort of moral instruction to its audience, which is deeply bizarre to me…It is not my job as a writer to instill Christian values in schoolchildren, regardless of how my book is marketed…
In an interview for the Young Adult Library Association’s blog, YA novelist Malinda Lo talks about writing within certain genres—young adult, fantasy/sci-fi, feminist, LGBT—and how it can be both confining and liberating.
…I know that labels can be a useful way to find something you’re interested in.