Reading Journal Prompt #1: What makes Young Adult "young" and "adult" and "literature"?
Please read the following (short, popular, not hard to read) articles about current trends in Young Adult Literature: this critic-at-large piece in The New Yorker about the The Hunger Games (from when it was first published), and, this (non-scholarly and totally approachable) article about the history of YA lit, this New York Times article on the perisl of publishing in YA, this one on topics in YA lit, and this one, very recent, about some great new YA reads (some of these books are on our list this year and have been on my list in previous years). NOTE: All links are live.
Please post a 300 word response to the following prompt: Given what you have read in the four assigned articles this week, given what you know as a reader of YA (or as someone who is NOT a reader of YA), make a brief argument for what you would say are the defining characteristics of YA as a literary genre.
NOTE: This post will count as one “A” for acceptable reading journal as long as you post no later than noon on Sunday (26 January 2020). I’ll cover the formal requirements for reading journals next week, but you don’t need to worry about that just yet. We just need to get started on conversation. So let’s just dig in, don’t worry, and post. As long as you post by the deadline it will count.
1/22/2020 02:58:44 pm
After reading these articles, I have learned some of the important characteristics of young adult literature. YA is typically a genre of novels that pertain to a younger age group such as the years of being a teen. Shockingly, there is still a large number of adults quite enjoy reading YA novels and that’s okay. These novels mainly are written on topics of interest to young adults and are written in a style that they will understand and relate to. YA also brings about topics and issues that are going around in today’s world or introducing possible future/post-apocalypse world such as the Hunger Games or the Maze Runner. Introducing religion into YA novels seems to be risky still and at first I was not sure why. This generation of readers may not all follow the traditional Christian religion that was often talked about or referred to in novels from centuries ago. YA readers are breaking traditions and believing in what they feel is most comfortable. Allison Filice says: “Teenage readers search for themselves in books.” and for an author to write a novel about one religion can backfire at them. She also says “We worry someone might be trying to convert or indoctrinate teenagers…” which also, in the end, may cause conflict in YA readers. As a reader of YA, I find myself interested in these characteristics of topics that’s are new and fresh. I have become terribly bored from reading 18th-19th century novels that spark no interest in my style of reading. Reading things such as Twilight, The Hunger Games, and The Fault in Our Stars, allow me to dive in are really grasp onto the words that I am reading. The books are based in today’s world or possibly what the world could lead to and that’s what interests me the most. The books are real, raw, and showcase trends that spread throughout the targeted reading group. YA novels are completely relatable to a teen or even an adult who wants to read something modern. YA is breaking the traditions of older novels and that is what I think makes them so compelling.
1/23/2020 08:46:12 am
I would say that the most important aspect of Young Adult fiction is that it is relatable to teenagers. The things that they struggle with and that consume their lives are found within these novels. Laura Miller discusses the difference between young adult dystopian literature and dystopian stories geared toward adults, and she believes that young adult dystopian literature focuses more on the struggles of being a teenager, rather than the reality of the situation. She claims that The Hunger Games, for example, is less about a potentially realistic future and more focused on paralleling the difficulties of navigating high school and the indifferent nature of adults who do not sympathize with the struggles that teenagers go through. Further, when examining Maria Russo’s picks for must read young adult novels, many of these books focus on romance, mental illness, family dynamics, all of which generally being central in the lives of teenagers. Russo even comments on how realistic young adult novels are often more popular with teenagers, while adults tend to drift toward fantasy. Perhaps this reflects the teenager’s desire to see their own lives specifically reflected. Additionally, as someone who reads quite a bit of young adult fiction, romance is very often present in these novels. Of course, romance novels are popular among adults as well, and is important in the lives of those who are over the age of eighteen, however, it is often more dramatic in younger people. Teenagers profess love within weeks. Breakups can be harsh and messy, even when over rather trivial details, and this is reflected in those over the top, wild love affairs that are so popular within the young adult genre. Both Donna Freitas and Jennifer Senior also note how young adult fiction is often diverse. Readers demand not only diverse characters, but also for those characters to be portrayed respectfully (something that they can be overprotective of, as Senior shows). In short, young adult novels show (in a sometimes exaggerated manner) the lives of teenagers experimenting with independence (or lack thereof), navigating social situations, dealing with extreme emotions, and experiencing love.
1/23/2020 09:09:57 am
1/23/2020 08:19:02 pm
1/23/2020 08:53:10 pm
Young Adult seems, at first, to be a categorization of books that holds few of the attributes that are typically expected of a defined literary genre. In the past, I have resented the inclusion of YA as a genre in the same way that I dislike Netflix’s inclusion of “Silent Films” on its list of movie genres. The “Silent Film” category, after all, includes movies from many genres, such as the horror movie Nosferatu or the romantic comedy City Lights. In the same sense, I have always questioned why a dystopian YA novel should be on the same shelf in the bookstore as John Green’s teen romances. These books are often placed in subgenres within a YA section, but then why are these books not better off simply categorized with other novels of their respective subgenres? Age levels are an important factor in the categorization of books. Many sizeable bookstores and most libraries have children’s sections. Yet, while children’s books are grouped and categorized together for functional purposes, they are not granted the same genre status as YA is. As David Brown explains in his Atlantic article, “YA is not to the written word as PG is to film.” In other words, YA is more than just a label to describe the target age group for a given book. After all, recent trends show that more and more adults are buying and reading YA books than ever before. Generally, there are two components that seem to qualify a book as YA: the YA status of the intended readers and the YA status of the protagonist or of the overall perspective held in the book’s narrative. These books hold value for all readers, as the exploration of adult themes through a YA perspective is both nuanced and illuminating. Additionally, YA, more than other genres, demands a reflective quality. As Laura Miller suggests in her New Yorker article, YA books are “about what’s happening, right this minute, in the stormy psyche of the adolescent reader.” In this sense, YA is a more universal genre, as, regardless of readers’ ages, YA books all have an adolescent perspective as a point of reference, whether that be in the present or the past.
1/24/2020 08:08:28 am
After reading these articles, I realized that Young Adult literature has enough variety to satisfy everyone’s interests, such as a mix of different genres presented for everyone. Young adults enjoy a certain type of literature that involves genres that pop out the most to them at their ages. People who have reached their adolescent life may also enjoy some of these young adult novels, due to the fact that they may want to feel young again or enjoy literature that they have enjoyed when they were young adults as well. These certain novels in the articles discussed what young adults go through and what they experience, whether it be day to day problems with their private lives or public lives as well. The genre YA tells about all of the changes that these young adults are going through and how to deal with it, as well as what to expect when they reach the adolescent life. There are so many different emotions in this YA genre, that it is able to connect to all the feelings that any young adult may be feeling in this world. Everyone has gone through their own problems, whether it be when they were young adults or even when they are older, but everyone faces problems every day. There are many Young Adult novels that are based around romance, mystery, thrillers, or horror in different worlds, which seem to grasp the attention of these young adults the most. YA genre is not one specific genre, such as one listed above, rather it is a mix of it all and the options for YA are endless. At the end of the day, everyone has their own opinions on what they enjoy to read the most, but with YA, Young Adults are able to read and choose what they want to read based on their feelings and what they may be dealing with in the real world.
1/24/2020 09:53:45 am
Common, and uncommon, experiences and navigating life and the decisions we have to make are a large part of Young Adult literature. These problems are witnessed by the reader as they are by the character in the book- the characters are doing things for the first time, and these young readers are curious about the outcome. Reading about someone a similar age to you can reassuring and motivating, as well as perspective altering. This means that what we read about in these books is usually in the demographic we are in- even if it is a fantasy novel or takes place in another time period or part of the world, these characters are struggling with phenomenons that are universal. Coming of age, drugs, sexuality, and school are things almost everyone has to go through and subsequently have problems dealing with. Books can help guide teens through problems like racism, family problems, and relationships. These common experiences ate the reason young adult literature is particularly marketed and bought by actual teenagers. People want to feel like they are understood, and even seek advice and solace in books, so writing about things people have experienced is sometimes tricky. It is hard to write about a race or a country and growing up that way if you are not yourself from there, due to the issue of being insensitive or prejudiced. Experiences and emotions are real, and it is unfair to fake it for the sake of writing, because teens know what is realistic and what is not. This is probably why fantasy is so popular, because these normal characters are thrown into a world that does not really exist, thus there is room for the author to take liberties.
1/24/2020 12:30:28 pm
From reading these articles it is prominent that young adult literature primarily connects people to what they are feeling. The impact is not only intriguing to younger audiences but is constantly read by adults as well because of that reason. Young adult captures the attention of all age groups because of its prominent connection to real life emotions, fears, experiences, etc. It doesn’t matter if the premise of the story is dystopian or real life scenarios, what matters is the content and what we get from reading it, whether that is insight, advice, perspective etc. It is mentioned that young adult books can help its audience to feel connected, giving them the verification they need to grow into themselves. While this is important, some topics such as religion are avoided because it can sway the reader to become something they are not. Young adult literature should, and does, include the controversial topics as well because they are no less important. If the genre helps people to find themselves through a personal connection but also to understand the perspectives of others, I’m not quite sure how this is hurting students when facing real life feelings or situations. Considering young adult is primarily about engaging feelings shouldn’t we be aware of feelings we’ve never encountered? Again, what the reader gains from the content does not always have to be liked or fit their beliefs but connecting the reader to something real is what young adult literature stands for. While everyone is different young adult connects us in ways that we can all relate to. It makes us aware of struggles we might not have encountered, opens our eyes to new possibilities, and validates everything we are going through. Personally as a reader of young adult the traits of this genre include generating a feeling from the audience and or helping the audience to understand that there are many perspectives to be aware of.
1/24/2020 04:12:14 pm
After reading the articles for this week, I was able to learn many different defining characteristics that the Young Adult literature genre has to offer. I argue that for starters, one of the most important characteristics would be that any book in this genre should be intended for its specific audience. This meaning that in order for a book to connect with its readers and ultimately sell in great amounts, it has to be able to connect, and in some way, relate to its intended audience/readers. Even The Hunger Games, as gory and far-fetched as it may seem, young adults can put into perspective that high school can be its own “fight-to-the-death” type of situation where they need to do anything necessary to fit in and thus survive these years. Another important and thus defining characteristic of Young Adult literature is the author itself. All authors have the ending goal of wanting to write a good book but when it comes to Young Adult literature, they must be able to go back and remember what it felt like to be an adolescent. It is through this process that they are able to then bring in other defining characteristics in their Young Adult literature writing. These include aspects like speaking from an experience you know more so than “intruding” or “speculating” on certain “cultural violations” (unless of course they like to push the boundaries thus ignoring what people may think), and being extremely cautious when it comes to writing about any type of religion. While both of these topics/characteristics for Young Adult literature are cause for caution and thus some type of concern, if the author is able to connect them to how adolescents might feel or relate to, then by all means they are able to try to push these boundaries and create stories readers are able to love.
1/24/2020 05:52:40 pm
Young Adult literature is a genre I loved in High School. Both junior and senior year I read a number of dystopian novels such as “1984” that I loved. A book such as this truly defined my experience in an English classroom. However, as a genre itself I knew very little about what defined it. Therefore, after reading these articles I have learned a great deal about exactly what it means. It is evident one of the key ideas throughout the genre is the themes and motifs presented. They are all similar throughout as young adults are going through similar experiences. For instance, whether that might be anxiety, love and heartbreak, family issues or figuring out who you are. These ideas are able to bind readers together as they can relate to so many different things. A reason why Young Adult literature is so popular is because of these universal experiences that many go through. Another concept that defines this genre is the purpose they serve. Some texts call out for individuals to do something immediately. However, it is evident that through this genre the purpose is to inform the reader. The author not only wants the reader to be knowledgeable about the subject but to also make connections. Which leads into another concept that defines the genre. It is important that these books have some sort of connection to the world outside of the text. They could possibly be pointing out things that are happening in the world right now. Therefore, the author wants to call attention to such issues so young adults can understand them. Also, an instance that defines the genre is how characters and situations are presented. For instance, it is vital that authors present an environment that seems real to an adolescent. They need to feel as though they are there and experiencing the same thing, otherwise most students will not be interested in it. Therefore, the genre has to convey adolescent feeling and experiences. Lastly, another idea discussed through the articles is the concept of publishing through this genre. It seems that the internet has an immense influence of the success on certain books. Many who read the books are also spending time on the internet, therefore how well it does constitute with who critiques perceive it through the media. This being different than other genres because the internet is important to young adults. Therefore, they are taking what is discussed very seriously. Young Adult literature is a genre that will continue to grow because it is able to connect so many individuals.
1/25/2020 10:06:29 am
After reading all of the assigned readings I was able to gain a better understand of Young Adult literature. I learned what YA stands for, young adult literature and what its all about. Young adult literature just isn’t a type of book but it is its own genre. Young adult literature is aimed towards readers 21 and older incorporating key aspects to draw readers in, keep them entertained, and provide them with necessary information. Maria Russo pointed out that one of the key aspects to young adult literature is that the setting and story line takes place in the world as us young adults know it. Yes some YA readers may like to read older books but these genres are aimed to incorporate and relate to the World around us today. YA Literature tends to be very realistic and provides the reader with real life situations that they may encounter around their age range. Some important examples being romance, friendship, and even real life problems such as how to deal with the hardship of drugs and alcohol. Not all YA genre books are the same and represent the same things because there are many different types of young adults in the world who face many different types of life problems and have different beliefs. These YA writers and authors need to remember what young adolescence feels like and try to relate to the different types of YA cultures and beliefs. Theses authors need to remember how they dealt with love, friendships, and parents throughout their YA years. Not only do they need to relate to all of the things that YA deal with but they need to use a believable narrator with a strong tone a voice which will help relate to readers. Not only do young adults read YA literature but anyone can read it. Some older people may want to reminisce on their adolescence years. The fears and anxieties that are present through these novels make them enjoyable to read to any age group. Overall anyone can read YA novels but they are geared towards the YA age range because they can relate to some of the feelings and anxieties that they face on a day to day basis.
1/25/2020 11:32:13 am
After reading the given articles, it is clear that YA books have become a successful genre and appeal to a wide variety of ages. The publishing industry has been busy working on putting forth YA books so many people can relate to. According the David Brown writer for The Atlantic, these young adult novels are written in a viewpoint that is influenced by emotions rather than real life experiences, which is what classifies it as a YA novel. The dark, dystopian novels are a success as a YA book. It seems as though there are no topics that are off limits when it comes to writing for a YA audience. However, these books address many different topics, it seems that religion is still one that does not get addressed as frequently. Now, with social media being so prevalent in everyday life, it has had an impact on the novels that are being released. People on Twitter have banned together to criticize novels before they have even been published, resulting in some authors choosing not to release the book at all. It seems like social media has the ability to influence what kind of content is allowed in a YA novel, thus influencing the characteristics of a YA novel.
1/25/2020 01:17:10 pm
When thinking of the defining characteristics of YA as a literary genre, one must notice the importance of the author’s ability to hook their reader. Many young adults want to read works that will interest them and keep them on their toes, rather than a work that will simply bore them. Embedded in the genre of YA is the wide range of topics. For example, many YA books are predominantly reserved for those who want to read romantic stories such as girls or romantic enthusiasts, whereas YA books about war or other scientific topics spark the interest of boys or young readers who love the topic of science fiction. Having a book classified as the genre YA does not mean the book can also be non-fiction, romance, sci-fi, or any other genre as well. The most important defining characteristic of YA is in its title, “Young Adult.” These books are for a predominantly younger audience, in which authors may include topics that will open their reader’s eyes to the world around them through the author’s story. SOme of these books are so interesting that even older audiences are excited to read them as well. Just because the genre is “YA,” does not mean others cannot read the work as well, but rather that it is simply initially intended for a young adult audience. However, these books are also compelling to older adults, as they so yearn to be identified as a younger self, which some try to do through reading YA novels. I also agree with one of the NY Times articles we read about religion being a taboo topic in YA novels, as many readers of YA novels are maturing teens and young teens who are still trying to find themselves and how they want to identify. Therefore, reading a religion in a YA novel may confuse them or simply just not interest them. Instead, they clearly would much rather read about topics that directly pertain to them such as friendships, school, family, etc. Lastly, as an author, it is very important for them and as a defining characteristic of YA to simply listen to your readers. YA readers make it very known the topics they are interested in reading about and what they would relate to. There are several characteristics that go into YA as a genre, but these are just some of the many in the YA world.
1/25/2020 02:16:40 pm
Perhaps the most noticeable characteristic is that the main character(s) are young adults themselves, usually teens are very early twenties. As Miller and Brown touch on in “Fresh Hell” and “How Young Adult Fiction Came of Age,” the age matters because the characters are experiencing the emotional trials and difficult choices that come from the young adult life stage. Miller focuses on The Hunger Games and points out themes that are emphasized in the dystopian world but felt just as strongly in the real world, like the sense that “adults don’t seem to understand how high the stakes are.” By nature, a dystopian novel like heighten the intensity of these conflicts, but it’s YA because who feels misunderstood by adults more than young adults? Hence the heightened awareness of issues and conflicts make the YA genre. On that note, the fact that it is often a new experience, like Brown states, also creates a loss of innocence that defines the genre.
1/25/2020 02:34:51 pm
Given the articles and my past in reading your adult literature, I would argue that their are a couple defining characteristics. One of them being the ability to pull out emotions from the readers whether they are teenagers or adults. I have found that YA literature often deals with first time emotions. In the first article I read, it discussed that YA literature focused on first time experiences which are often more powerful. Therefore, the readers emotional reactions tend to be more powerful as well. I think another important concept throughout YA literature is a fresh concept. I think everyone knows how hard it is to keep young adults or teenagers engaged in something. They tend to get bored easily (or at least I know I did) so YA literature needs to keep up with that. New stories, experiences, genres, plots, and more need to constantly be created. Young adults always want the next best thing, and that goes for literature as well.
1/25/2020 03:32:32 pm
After reading these articles, I found myself continually thinking about how Young Adult Literature is such a pivotal piece of work, and yet one of the most important. The genre of YA literature has specific, intentional characteristics due to the life adolescents live, not “technically” being an adult yet. With that being said, YA literature is written to give “young” adults mostly under the age of 18 and outlet for life, or an insight to what goes on in the world that adolescents do not have access to. These articles showcase that no one genre fits under YA literature because there is no set live that all people live. Adolescence is a time for the young to figure out who they are, what they want to be, what is out in the world, and so much more YA lit is geared towards. YA literature characteristics of having young adult protagonists while also showcasing emotion, adventures, possibilities, bullying, journeys, death, struggle, and I can go on and on is why Laura Miller talks about the infinite possibilities for YA authors. She states that the “advantage to having young readers is that most of the stuff is fresh to them.” It is fresh because they do not have the experiences that “adults” have had. So what makes YA “young” is that it is written for the young to connect to and the “adults” to reminisce to. As Donna Freitas states in her article, “teenage readers search for themselves in books,” which is why this genre portrays the imaginary world and the possibilities life has to offer. Adults are writing these novels with nostalgia for the virgin mindset they as young people had. They see the world due to the responsibilities adulthood brings but also reflect on their own lives and share their awareness. The reason YA literature is pivotal is that young readers put themselves in the shoes of a character and reflect on the life they are living and the life they could live. What makes Young Adult literature young is because the young are searching for themselves at that moment or searching for their future selves were “adults” are reflecting on their younger selves. There are so many different directions, and different experiences adolescents can have YA lit is crucial for opening up those possibilities for the young. It is the lives that the “adults” live that make YA literature so impactful for the young and for other adults to reflect off of.
1/25/2020 08:55:43 pm
After reading the articles provided, there are a few defining characteristics of YA as a literary genre. The first being that the piece must be able to connect to its audience. The writer really needs to get to the level of a teenager and remember what it was like experiencing the emotional turmoil a teenager/ young adult goes through on a rather constant basis. Just as everything seems so urgent as a teenager, YA books focus on the emotional aspect whereas David W. Brown mentioned “every decision feels life-changing, and every choice in these books can seem life or death”. This emotional bridge between the reader and the text is what defines this genre. Everyone experiences some sort of connection to these types of books just as everyone experiences emotion. This notable characteristic is furthered through the use of real life experience to drive the YA novel or piece. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green was so popular because people could really connect with what the characters were going through. Not only the love and friendship aspect but the cancer side too. This story drew on the heart strings of the reader and left them wanting more. This brings us to another important feature, leave them wanting more. When discussing books such as the Hunger Games, Laura Miller noted that these “…books tend to end in cliff-hangers that provoke their readers to post half-mocking protestations of agony…”. YA books often leave the reader wanting more, which causes a stir in discussion and pushes the book further as more and more people hear about it. The ability to hold the reader’s attention not only through the use of real life scenarios and through emotion but also through suspense are all characteristics of YA. YA books are able to thrive as every reader teen and up can connect to the experiences, emotion and life altering decisions within these stories.
1/26/2020 07:54:55 am
It was not until I sat down to complete this assignment that I thoughtfully considered what the defining characteristics of Young Adult literature may be. However, after reading these articles and thinking back on some of my favorite YA novels, I believe that one of the chief defining characteristics is that these novels are relatable to readers in one way or another. Throughout middle school and high school (and even through my college years), I have found myself reaching for YA novels because they often feature a protagonist who is close in age to myself. Even if I could not directly relate to what the protagonist was going through or what was happening within the novel, I recognized patterns that were relevant to my age group. I thought that Laura Miller did a beautiful job explaining the alternate way The Hunger Games could be interpreted. Miller compares the games to what high school can often feel like, “The rules are arbitrary, unfathomable, and subject to sudden change. A brutal social hierarchy prevails, with the rich, the good-looking, and the athletic lording their advantages over everyone else” (Miller). While one reader may relate to that allegory, another may relate to the way adults oversee children’s lives. Maria Russo provides a list of popular YA novels in her article “7 Great Contemporary Novels for Teenagers”. Each novel described is completely different from the one before however, they all relate in some way to what could be happening in an adolescents’ world. There is romance, adventure, and the stress of social media. These are things often happening in a YA reader’s life. Donna Freitas also explores how relatability is a driving force in YA literature. She speaks on how religion is often perceived as a taboo therefore it is not often popular in YA literature. However, many YA readers feels exactly this way and are searching for a novel that understands how they are feeling. Freitas explains “Teenage readers search for themselves in books” (Freitas). These articles showcase how YA readers look for relatable content making relatability a defining characteristic of Young Adult literature.
1/26/2020 08:01:40 am
Defining characteristics of Young Adult Literature as a genre are typically novels or any type of literature geared toward a younger audience, often teenagers. The purpose of YA is to give relatable content to the younger generations that discusses topics that many young people face such as romantic issues, family issues, encounters with drugs etc. , the awkward struggles of wanting to fit in as a teenager and the stories often describe how those can alter peoples’ lives. While YA literature is written and intended for a young audience, it is not limited to just that age. Some of the authors from the articles discussed how adults often find themselves reading and enjoying YA lit. and that is because the struggles and scenarios discussed throughout the novel are events that adults can relate to also and can look at it in a different perspective than young adult readers, sometimes being able to appreciate the message or story more. In the article, “How Young Adult Fiction Came of Age”, David Brown introduces this type of literature as New Adult. Explaining, “In other words: issues of separation and attachment; individuation; and romantic, sexual, and economic independence. We think there's an opportunity to provide books that 'bridge the gap,' so to speak.". As a new reader, I find myself really enjoying Young Adult Lit, or the "New Adult" literature because I can relate to it still even in my late 20's. Reading is an escape for many people and when you feel that you are reading a story that you can relate to the struggles and the experiences, it provides comfort to the reader and hope for the future. Literature is so important especially for young adults navigating through difficult years.
1/26/2020 08:11:11 am
After reading this weeks articles and reminiscing on my own encounters with YA literature, one thing is clear; the goal of authors of YA literature is to identify a protagonist whose situation parallels the emotional experiences young adults encounter. In her article “Is Any Topic Off Limits When You Write for Teenagers? Maybe Just One,” Donna Freitas communicates that “teenage readers search for themselves in books.” Whether teenage readers find that connection within an exaggerated society in a dystopian novel or an exact replication of high school; the characters experiences have to be relatable to young adults. I think another defining characteristic of YA literature is the characters search for identity. During a time where social experiences arguably outweigh academic ones, high school is certainly a time for change and confusion. If the reader notices those similar struggles then it creates a connection between the reader and the novel. Also, I feel as though characters of YA literature frequently struggle with moral conflict. Think back to your time in high school and try and remember all the times you questioned right from wrong. Even the kids who seemed to have it all together suffered from some secret inner turmoil. The fact is, tackling high school and middle school experiences is a complex beast. As Erin Kelly puts it in Brown’s article, “You have to remember the struggle of wanting to be an individual, but needing to fit in, of loving and hating your parents at the same time, of trying to maneuver through the social strata.”
1/26/2020 09:30:48 am
Young Adult literature is a very specific type of genre that is greatly beneficial to both young readers developing their skills. The New Yorker article Fresh Hell describes the craving of a dystopia and adventure for the modern young adult reader. I believe This type of adventure sparks excitement in many young readers, yet it also introduces very serious themes in more fantastical way. Apocalyptic futures full of imminent danger in books such as The Hunger Games series introduces adult themes of poverty, survival, and violence. The reality of our world has been no stranger to these topics, and introducing these types of books could be a good segway to atrocities such as world wars. Another important part of Young adult literature is the age of the protagonists. Many young adult fiction works such as Harry Potter, Percy Jackson, Hunger Games, Maze Runner, etc. all have teenage protagonists. This is an important element in this genre, for the audience of these books is targeted predominately toward that age, therefore making the characters more relatable for a young reader. Introducing this idea of empathizing or identifying with a character could possibly lead to helping a young reader do the same with characters “unlike” themselves. Young Adult literature is essentially a bridge from children books such as Magic Tree House that do not have substance as far as thematic elements go. Many children books are pure entertainment or easy in format and content in order to help children begin reading, while of course a novel in a college course can be quite loaded with themes, ranges of characters and cultures, differentiating perspectives, etc. Young Adult literature is the genre that is in tune with its reader, but nudging them to go farther. Many books in this genre are essentially made to be a coming of age in either the characters or the content. For example, Little Women hints at the atrocities of war by the girls sitting and wondering if their father is coming back. This highlights a very mild view of thinking about death and losing a father, while on the other hand, the relatively simple language use but long story is introducing teens/ pre-teens to the novel form.
1/26/2020 10:17:50 am
My opinion of what characterizes a Young Adult novel before reading these articles was: A novel most likely featuring a teenager(s) protagonist, or a character that faces the same problems as teens such as figuring out some aspect of their identity, young love, relationships, and dealing with their hormonal emotions. After reading these articles my opinion is largely unchanged, I do see younger ideas at the forefront of Young Adult literature more often than I see in Adult or Juvenile literature, Senior’s article on cancel culture helps to demonstrate this. Author’s writing about someone else’s experience and thoughts is age-old in literature (like white authors writing about the black experience), they couldn’t possibly know the depths of their actual stories, and it can be insensitive. I first heard of this pushback to people writing of other’s experiences in 2017 at Simmon’s University’s “Summer Children’s Literature Institute” featuring about 50/50 young adult, and juvenile authors, it’s a new idea and I think it’s important to have these discussions. I think it’s interesting these conversations are happening around Young Adult literature though, it seems so much more progressive as this conversation is only just seeming starting to spark in Adult Literature. Young Adult Literature pushes the boundaries of traditional literature and facilitates these important discussions among our youth, so they can converse with the books and their communities and decide what is really important to them and our future. These novels allow them to feel seen, understood, and less alien in a world where our youth is more and more putting up picture perfect portrayals of themselves on social media. The truth is everyone feels weird, uncomfortable, and out of place at times in their life, and much of this can come on in our teen years, Young Adult Literature isn’t necessarily a cure, but it allows people to know they’re not alone in this.
1/26/2020 04:59:33 pm
After reading the articles assigned for this week, I have learned about the many different characteristics that comprise of a Young Adult novel and the genre as a whole. YA literature is directed specifically for the audience of teenagers and young adults as the name suggest, but there are also many adults who enjoy reading these imaginative novels. One of the most important characteristics of these novels is relatability. The people who read these books want to be able to feel for the characters as they are going through similar experience, but on a grander scale. The Hunger Games and other dystopian novels can be dramatic version of normal experiences, such as high school for many readers. The cutthroat social hierarchy and pressure of high school can be seen throughout the hunger games and having to “fake it ‘til you make it” essentially. These YA novels are exposing the issues that many teens have to face and turning them into a fictional world where these dilemmas and hardships are dealt with, as Laura Miller brings up in her article “What’s behind the boom in dystopian fiction for Young Readers?” Another important factor is being diverse. In order to be relatable, you need a wide range of characters that at least one person can see themselves in. Both Donna Freitas and Jennifer Senior discuss how young adult fiction is often diverse and inclusive of a variety of characters. And with this diverse set of characters, each needs to be portrayed respectfully and realistic. These characters are dealing with love, friends, breakups, emotions and independence and they need to be shown through the lens of different characters in order to reach as many different people as possible. This genre has the ability to reach a much bigger audience than the intended Young Adult audience as many adults often enjoy these works too. There is a great selection of novels included in this genre and there is always something that will be relatable to someone out there.
1/26/2020 05:48:02 pm
1/26/2020 06:50:28 pm
Young Adult literature was a favorite genre of mine. Especially young adult romance novels that were a defining moment in my youth memoirs about reading. (I still own all my Sarah Dessen books.) Part of what defines the genre, defined in one of the articles is how choices are driven by feelings not experience. This is sometimes painfully apparent in the novels I’ve read, but also painfully relatable. The readings also mention about every decision seems life changing, world ending even. That feeling can be applicable through many life stages not just adolescence. I think this quality shows how adults are able to interact with the genre as well, speaking to the overall quality of the way these topics are being handled in the literature.
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