Tough Topics in Young Adult Literature
Tough Topics in Young Adult Literature
Recently, I had the pleasure to talk to Karen Jensen from the Teen Librarian Toolbox about the topics that are cropping up in teen literature that some people may think are too difficult or inappropriate for teens to handle. Karen really stressed that we think critically about this literature and the importance and impact it could make in a teen’s life. She also brought up the point that “Teens today live in a world overshadowed by the events of 9/11” and that “Schools today have duck and cover lock down drills where they practice what to do if a shooter comes into their school.” This is a “normal” part of a teenagers life, and this is in addition to stress that they may handle at home, violence that they be exposed to (both sexual and physical) and mental and health issues that they may have to handle. In this case, is it any wonder that teen literature is seeing an emergence of more difficult subject matter? And if teens have to face this reality every day, then are we really qualified to deny them a book that may help them cope in some way?
I strongly urge that the next time you see a book that may contain some difficult subject matter on the Young Adult shelves, that instead of asking why that subject is being discussed, instead ask how it may possibly assist a teen and if this is a subject that they actively have to handle. The problem in this situation is not the book, but rather the fact that a young adult has to handle these subjects in the first place. Some great books with difficult subjects in them specifically for teens and available at your library are Crank by Ellen Hopkins, Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson, The Ballads of Suburbia by Stephanie Kuehnert, Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher and Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys, in addition to many other titles. For more suggestions, you can check out Karen Jensen’s blog or ask your local librarian! Keep reading and supporting the freedom to read!
By Dawn States
YA Books Hit the Big Screen
Young Adult (YA) books are making the leap to the big screen. These adaptations are wildly popular at the moment. Have you read any of these books or seen the movies?
Popular YA Books That Have Been Made Into Movies:
- The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
- Twilight by Stephenie Meyer
- Divergent by Veronica Roth
- Fault in Our Stars by John Green
- The Spectacular Now by Tim Tharp
- The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
Upcoming YA Adaptations -
- The Maze Runner by James Dashner
- Insurgent by Veronica Roth
- Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
- The Giver by Lois Lowry
- If I Stay by Gayle Forman
Book Reviews for Young Adults By Dawn States
So you just finished a great book and are wondering what to read next? Or do you have those summer reading blues? Then these links are for you! These people who wrote the following blogs take the time to read the book and post an informative review about the book.
Some of ones I usually go to are YA Books Central, a really fun site, Young Adult Book reviews, and the awesome Reading Rants. I also like to browse the award winning books in Young Adult fiction (mainly I look at the Alex award winners), which you can find a list of these here and a list of past winners. There is actually a list of award winning books and the title of the award and also in particular, check out the Printz award winners.
The options are seriously endless, and the links above are good staring places for finding the next awesome book. Do not forget to ask your librarian for some great titles too! Many of the books listed in the links are available at the library, so be sure to check that out! Happy reading!
Interview with Lisa Hess
I recently had the pleasure to interview local author Lisa Hess. Lisa took the time to explain to me how long she has been writing, what got her into writing, her inspiration, and her advice for other aspiring writers. Lisa has been writing for twenty years, which included articles, books based upon her experience as a school counselor, and then her debut novel Casting the First Stone. Her first memory of writing creatively was in 7th grade, where her English teacher instilled an “avenue for self-expression and a developing vocabulary” through creative writing. Lisa describes being published to be a lot of hard work and both awesome and scary at the same time. She said it is a scary thing because publishing a book is “a lot like putting a piece of you out there.” Lisa’s favorite book is To Kill a Mockingbird and she really enjoys books that have realistic and well-developed characters in them. She is drawn to the genre of women’s fiction, and her novel Casting the First Stone is Christian Women’s fiction that deals with realistic characters and problems. Her books in the works currently are two non-fiction books (one of which is an ingenious approach to organizing) and two novels, which are inspirational. Her advice to writers is also inspirational, she says “Don’t give up. Any kind of writing is good writing. It is not insurmountable to be an author. Even if you only write a page a day, by the end of the year you have a book.” Lisa has followed through on her own advice, as at one point in her life she was only able to write fifteen minutes a day! Her last comment in the interview was heart-warming, as Lisa said “Libraries are awesome! I wish more people knew how libraries inspired writers and readers alike.” Be sure to check out her book available through the work county library system http://millennium.yorklibraries.org/search/a?searchtype=Y&searchscope=23&SORT=D&searcharg=hess%2C%20lisa and her great blog www.L2hess.blogspot.com .
Why Adults Read Young Adult Novels
With all the awesome young adult (YA) novels appearing on library shelves such as Code Name Verity, The Hunger Games, and Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, is it any wonder that adults are snapping up these books as fast as the teens? Reading young adult literature is nothing that adults should be ashamed of, as many YA books contain fresh topics, interesting plots, and well-developed characters. With this appeal of crossing over to YA for adults, are there any books on the adult shelves that would also appeal to teens?
Jennifer Hubert-Swan, author of the amazing blog Reading Rants was kind enough to answer my email concerning this inquiry. She has taken time to compile a booklist of suggestions that are typically considered adult books, but also have appeal for teen readers. You can find this list here through this link.
In addition to these suggestions, some books that may appeal to both teens and adults are Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman, When a Monster Calls by Patrick Ness, The Book Thief by Markus Zusak, and The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath. These are just a few titles in the plethora that exist, but the main thing is to have fun with what you are reading and not to be scared looking at other shelves! (That is for you too, adults!) These and other book titles can all be found through our library catalog and eDownload listings.
By Dawn States