Using your reading of Pepper's Guide, try to explain what makes a text both young and adult at the same time? Further, what makes it "literature." Can you connect elements of theme, plot, and character to your own reading experiences in young adult lit?
In roughly 300 words, respond to the two questions above. No need to respond to your colleagues.
4/23/2021 12:23:25 pm
I think the foundation of genre is what makes a text young adult and adult at the same time. There are tons of genres in fiction: mystery, science fiction, fantasy, etc. I don’t think it matters who the intended audience is in terms of a plot’s structure. In Pepper, there’s a similar structure in this young adult mystery when compared to some adult mysteries. You have the sleuth, the crime/mystery, the suspects, and so on. It’s really just the individual aspects of the story that change, and this is because of who the intended target of the writing is. For instance, I can’t imagine that a young adult mystery novel would include a sleuth solving a disturbing, horrible crime with all sorts of dark plotlines. But that’s entirely fathomable in an adult novel. It just comes down to the audience. If you’re writing for kids, follow that structure and communicate things in a way that conforms to the readers’ age. But even in Pepper, the mystery here comes down to Great Aunt Florence’s will, a concept that I could totally see in an adult mystery novel (just communicated to us differently). So, I think the foundation of genre is what connects these two kinds of texts.
4/23/2021 12:25:42 pm
I haven't been reading much since I graduated high school 5 years ago. And the things I do read, I struggle to get through and understand. It's embarrassing to admit that I truly enjoyed this book and it was a level that I could actually follow. Reading is something I've started to struggle with and it makes me not want to read. This story kept me interested, it was low enough for me to be able to process, but didn't frustrate me or make me feel stupid. This book is both young and adult at the same time because of the issues it deals with, LGBTQ and loss. On one hand, it's understanding how a child processes both of these things, which to me is where it's adult. But at the same time, that part is also young because it is discussing how to process and understand yourself and your feelings. The young adult books I remember reading (which I don't have really any memories from then) are books I have kept with me. The one that strikes me as the most similar, but maybe just slightly older (I read it in high school), is "The Truth About Forever" by Sarah Dessen. That book also touches on grief and relationships. In that story, the main character had lost her father and was struggling with moving past that, but was also struggling to make new friends. A lot of Dessen's work is about finding yourself and making new friends in unfamiliar places. That seems to be the kind of book I have always been drawn too.
4/23/2021 12:53:29 pm
The similarities for what makes novels considered both Young Adult and adult, are the ages of the characters. On the jacket of ‘Pepper’s Rules for Secret Sleuthing”, by Mcdonald, the ages are listed from 8-12-years-old. For ‘young adult,’ the characters would normally be between high school ages of 15 and 19 years old. For example, Bella in Twilight is seventeen in high school when the novel takes place. Unlike Twilight, Pepper’s story does not really bring in much romance scenes. However, there are safe discussions of LGBTQ+. By using LGBTQ+, what makes this text both young and adult at the same time is that any age could be going through this situation. Today, I feel like more and more people are coming out or being more comfortable with discussing that they are LGBTQ+ in some way or another. Using this book would be a good way to get the family together for this child to “come out”. I noticed that a lot of YA and adult genres both deal with some type of emotional issue that relates to people in real life. For example, take Pretty Little Liars. One of the main characters, Emily, struggles finding her sexuality. Pretty Little Liars is considered a YA because the emotional conflicts these characters go through are age appropriate for both audiences.
4/23/2021 05:25:15 pm
I feel that young adult books do focus more on relevant coming of age journeys rather than elements of adult life. While that is not always the case, I do find that many younger readers gravitate more towards these types of stories as they do apply to a lot of issues as they come to find a place in the world. That isn't to say that adults can find the same appeal, it is just easier for younger readers to relate to younger protagonists who could be experiencing similar discoveries about where they stand or how they want to be perceived. This is especially true with books such as Pepper that deal with LGBT themes. What I do respect is that the story simply touches on that point as a part of Pepper's character rather than a focal point for the story. The plot is never sidetracked to tackle this as a talking point but it does acknowledge it to a degree which I think more writers should take inspiration from as diversity is important but having to force that diversity would easily break the narrative. In addition to themes such as this, I also think that word count does play a big role in differentiating a YA story from an adult one as Brianna McDonald said. A story with 50k to 70k could classify as a YA book with roughly 300 pages while an adult book could have up to 100k and include 400 pages.
4/23/2021 09:28:59 pm
What makes a text both young and adult is that young adults focus a lot more on serious topics such as mental health, politics, sex, rape murder, etc. and there is a huge collection of genres in young adult text. Age is a huge factor in young adult series because as we all know young adult series expands on a wide range of stories not to say that young text doesn't cover serious topics because Pepper is a book for middle schoolers and they are dealing with the murder of her great-aunt. Usually in books that deal with a younger audience, they do not mention such gruesome topics such as murder but Pepper changed that perspective for me. This book showed that even younger audiences can handle touch topics like murder and mystery. Not just murder but accepting you are and Pepper coming to a realization that she is LGBT is another form that she is trying to accept herself as who she is. Her best friend Jacob, is also a part of the LGBT community because he is transgender so together they are taking on huge mystery. This shows that middle schools are able to take on big challenges just like adults can. However, despite Pepper has some adult themes like murder, it is still not considered young adult fiction in my opinion. It is simply because of the age of the characters that does not make them young adults because simply they are children. They are between 12 to 13 years old, that is not a young adult. So therefore, Pepper is young fiction with adult themes embedded in it.
4/24/2021 04:50:41 pm
Above all else, the central theme of a young adult story must be relatable for all ages, or in some way it must communicate a universal truth. So while the protagonist of the story may be young, and they are dealing with issues that a young person may deal with, it is important that these issues are not unique to younger people. For example, Pepper is a highly effective young adult character because she experiences human struggles, things that a person of any age may have to deal with. She has to come to terms with her own identity and sexuality and figure out who she is as a person. On top of that, she has to concern herself with how this may affect her relationship with her father, something that young people and adults alike may be forced to grapple with. Other more mature themes discussed in “Pepper” are things like death, or how Jacob worries that his parents may replace him with a daughter and he will never live up to their expectations. These themes have to resonate with both audiences, and young people will see these things as issues they are experiencing now, and adults may see these dilemmas as things they had to deal with in their past, or still are troubled by.
4/28/2021 05:26:11 pm
While the book uses very simple language and characters that are in middle school, it also contains themes that are frequently seen in adult novels. A young audience would be drawn to the mystery/sleuthing element of the story and the zany main character, while an older reader might be compelled by the book's representation of young LGBT characters and how Pepper deals with loss and self-discovery. Both Pepper and Jacob are comfortable in their own skin, they just are in the process of adjusting to certain aspects of their identity. Pepper is concerned with how she will be perceived by family members, and Jacob worries that he will be replaced in his parent's eyes by his baby sister, since they originally wanted a daughter. These types of conflicts are not often discussed or represented in children/YA literature, making Pepper an adult novel in this way. I was reminded of when I used to religiously read Junie B. Jones books as a kid while reading Pepper; they share a similar vibe with a quirky main character. However, there are much darker themes in Pepper, as the whole plot of the book involves Pepper trying to solve a murder mystery. The more complex themes and issues embedded within the plot of the novel make it a text that is both young adult and adult.
4/30/2021 09:02:36 am
The book Pepper's Guide is considered young adult fiction because it deals with characters that are younger in age so younger readers can identify with them more. I think many readers are drawn to genre's that are similar, in a way, to their own personal lives and experiences. Younger readers often seem to be drawn to characters that are closer in age to themselves because they like to see themselves in the story. I would like to think that mentality follows readers as they grow older. When I read, I want to escape into the book that I am reading; and books with characters that I can easily identify with are the easiest to do that with. On the other hand, books written for adults or young adults are not limited to those age groups. I feel like there is such a stigma when adults read books that are written for young adults; yet there isn't one for when children read adult novels. I feel like the same stigma follows adults who like to watch animated tv shows or movies. Just because something is intended for a younger audience doesn't mean that older people cannot get the same, if not more, enjoyment out of. Reading Pepper reminded me of playing secret agents or spy with my best friend in the woods. The plot and the language was simple so it made it that much easier for me to sit back, relax and enjoy the story unfold.
4/30/2021 09:05:15 am
I think that a text lives in both youth and adult realms when it deals with subjects that can be adult in nature, but are seen through the ideas/conversations of a child or adolescent. It gives age appropriate opportunities for dealing with and relating to subjects that even adults can struggle with. With Pepper, I’m thinking of Jacob’s identity and Pepper’s response. This would be something that could bring criticism from an adult cis person, but as a child, they are just navigating these conversations and there is space for mistakes. Instead of a gritty or sometimes violent description of traumatic events, the characters narrate and approach the plot with some level of innocence combined with their unique and sometimes small worldview. Pepper is stuck in the trauma of losing her mother by holding on so tightly to this book of rules. She is navigating her way through a mother’s death and most adults stumble and make mistakes during grief. I find that there is less of a jaded perspective as any events are being looked at by someone who is experiencing these things for the first time. This does not mean that it lacks voracity in emotion, though. Like when Pepper slaps the note on the cafeteria table and throws Ashley into a humiliating experience all because she wanted to impress her. She didn’t think about the situation all the way to the end, and it cost her valuable social status. Or, thinking of the book Everything Every Thing, this is an intense coming of age book that also deals with the emotion of finding out our parents haven’t been honest with us about big life events. Pepper demonstrates this in her reactions about her father wanting to date again. Even after five years, which as an adult is a long time, she connects his wanting adult relationships to mean he is “forgetting” her mother. First loves are epic, dramatic and can also be very toxic. We all can read books about this type of relationship and see ourselves. Feeling connected to community is important for teens and young adults from all areas, but especially those who grow up feeling the most alone. All three of the young lives in this book expressed feeling isolated, albeit for different reasons. This is the most important thing for a reader to feel connected to: a character's experiences… so they don’t feel alone in new experiences. I think literature in YA implies fully developed characters and world building. We all have a series of books we remember and LOVE from when we were younger. That takes a deep level of commitment as a writer to both the setting and the characters. (And to write quickly so their readership doesn’t age out of interest with the books) My favorite selections were the Harry Potter books, LJ Smith (the Vampire Diaries, Secret Circle etc), Christopher Pike, biographies/nonfiction that was re-written for YA and some to the age appropriate classics like Black Beauty, the wizard of Oz series, Narnia, Lord of the Rings, and The Once and Future King.
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