Tag Archives: Young Adult Fiction

Guest Post by Dawn Carrington, Editor-in-Chief—Bring on the Drama

The Vampire Diaries. The Originals. Teen Wolf. Nashville. Gilmore Girls. Ugly Betty. Buffy: The Vampire Slayer. Dawson’s Creek. Beverly Hills: 90210, Gossip Girl. Veronica Mars. The list of teen dramas goes on, with many of the series having lasted more than the four years on television which, in today’s world, is considered a good run.  Post a poll on Facebook, and you’ll see just how many adults enjoyed (or still enjoy) those shows even though they were geared toward a teen audience.

Switching mediums to young adult novels, and you’ll find Twilight, Harry Potter, Hunger Games, The Fault in Our Stars, The Princess Diaries, The Chronicles of Narnia, The Lovely Bones, and The Maze Runner to name a few. These are all popular teenage novels that were made into movies, and the buying audience wasn’t just young adults.

four person standing at top of grassy mountain

Photo by Helena Lopes on Pexels.com

Teen fiction is unquestionably popular. As much as adults love books geared toward our generation, we can also lose ourselves in a good story, regardless of the age of the characters. In young adult novels, we have all the drama, the love, the adventure, the danger, without the boring parts of life that we, as adults, have to face every day.

In most cases, young adults can focus on being young adults, and that is a draw to those of us who have already tiptoed past our teenage years. Because of our life experience, we can see a teenage tragedy that’s survivable. What we saw as a crippling moment in our lives was a lesson. These young protagonists are still learning, and we like being along for the journey.

But what about those books that tackle tough topics like death, assault, and homelessness. What can we, as adults, possibly see in those stories? How can they be any more interesting than reading about the same thing in a book written for our age?

Most, it not all, young adult books, even those that delve into the darker edges of life, still carry an element of hope. You can still find meaning within those pages. Young adult books are rarely written with the intent to terrorize readers or leave them feeling hopeless. The endings might not always bring a smile, but we can close the book knowing we survived another journey and, for a few hours, got a chance to relive the years of teenage drama and angst. And, for some reason, those years don’t seem quite as bad as they were at the time.

Guest Post by Felicia Bridges, Author of Kenya Quest

Mission SeriesI write the stories that come to me, the ones that grab me and won’t let go. I don’t do market research to determine what twist the plot should take or whether the family in my story should be more diverse or whether the next story will sell more copies if it is set in Venice vs. Venezuela. But there are times when, as authors, we need to look to the future and consider where our resources are best invested.

According to Jennifer Austin, https://jenniferaustinauthor.wordpress.com/2014/06/23/what-do-ya-readers-want/, based on a limited poll, YA readers are looking for less romance, especially love triangles, more sci fi, more diversity, and more fantasy but not sugar-coated fairytale fantasy. They want stories that reveal the darkness in the world, that aren’t afraid to confront evil or even allow evil to appear to triumph, but in the end they still want the “happily ever after.”

BookBrats also published a broader survey of what YA readers want a few years ago (http://www.bookbrats.com/ya-readership-survey-results/#.VlpUrd-rSu4).  The most important criterion according to those surveyed? Good writing. Well-developed characters. Rich, well-constructed plots. Realistic dialogue. In short, the most important ingredient for a successful novel was simply the quality of the writing.

The next critical foundation is originality. Once a story has taken the market by storm (think Twilight, The Hunger Games, Divergent), trying to emulate their proven success by copying the formula will fail miserably. Knock-offs will be compared relentlessly to the original, and seldom will they be found to exceed the one which set the standard. Readers have experienced that; now they want something new and different.

Be original. Be excellent. Write something wonderful.

ICYMI: Why Young Adult Books are so Addictive: Then and Now By Christine Bailey

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If you haven’t read J.D Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye, you’re missing out. Arguably the first young adult novel, Catcher sets the stage for other teen protagonists dealing with the adolescent angst we’ve come to love in today’s novels. Or maybe the first YA novel was Maureen Daly’s Seventeenth Summer. Either way, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed by taking a trip back in time—with either book. You might even realize, like I did, that these teen worlds are not so different from ours today. Okay, so they didn’t have cell phones and social media back then, but they did have love and heartbreak.

I recently had the chance to sit down with a few teens and discuss this book with them. Here’s a comment from Lauren about the protagonist Holden Caulfield as an outsider:  “Holden, though likeable, isn’t always tolerated well by the people in his life such as his roommates and the kids at school. Along with his occasionally annoying personality, Holden is set apart because he doesn’t put forth effort in school. He has attended and flunked out of multiple schools, and he spends most of his time talking about how phony everyone is. Why does Holden act like this? Why not study hard and prepare for the future? He fears the future. He fears growing up. He remembers childhood and the innocence that came with it, unwilling to accept change and move forward with his life.”

Relevant? Relatable? Absolutely! So while Catcher was published in 1951, the themes throughout the novel still speak to audiences today. Plus, it has a great plot, suspense, and a main character you’ll be pulling for until the very last page—much like the good YA books we’re reading today. If you get the chance, read it and compare it to a more recent YA book—let us know what you think. What’s stayed the same? What’s changed? Thanks for stopping by!

Peek Inside Miracle Girl with Video!

Releasing November 30th, Miracle Girl, a young adult novel by Jennifer DiGiovanni, is being hailed as “a poignant coming-of-age story” by Patricia B. Tighe, author of Life in the No-Dating Zone and a “well-rounded and inspirational read” by Booklist.

Don’t Miss Leanne Pankuch’s Celebration!

In honor of the six-month anniversary for the release of Dragon’s Truth, Leanne Pankuch is hosting a giveaway at her website! You can find all the details here, but hurry! The contest ends September 30!

Half Birthday

ICYMI: Did You See the 5-Star Review for Forlorn!

3D ForlornForlorn, the young adult fantasy series, has a wonderful five-star review! In case you missed it, here is what the reviewer had to say about the start to this young adult fantasy series!  We’re so proud of this book!

If you’re into Angels and Demons this is the book for you. This story is about Grace Fortune and Jared Lorn. Grace goes through something tragic when she was very young and if not for her Guardian Angel she would have been dead. As a result of her interaction with her Guardian she is able to hear the Angel’s Song. This comes in handy when the school is attacked at lunch time, because of this she gets to know Jared Lorn who turns out to be more than just the hot mysterious guy at school. Together with some friends they battle for more than just each other, they battle for humanity. Can’t wait to read the next installment.

Where You Lead Wins 2nd Place Award

Where You Lead, the inspiring young adult novel by Leslea Wahl, won second place in the Colorado Independent Publishers Association Contest! Have you read Eve’s search for a boy she knows she’s never seen and God’s will?

Where You Lead Award