Tag Archives: young adult

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.

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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.

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!

More Awards!

We’re always thrilled for our authors when their books are recognized by contest judges, and we’re excited to congratulate Leanne Pankuch, Susan Miura, and Leslea Wahl for their recent wins!

1st Place in Storymonster’s Royal Dragonfly Book Awards Science Fiction/Fantasy category – and an honorable mention in the YA Fiction category—Dragon’s Truth!

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1st Place in Storymonster’s Royal Dragonfly Book Awards YA Fiction category—Shards of Light

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1st Place in Storymonster’s Royal Dragonfly Books Awards Ebook Young Adult Fiction Category—Where You Lead

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Book Birthday: Miracle Girl by Jennifer DiGiovanni

Miracle Girl, a young adult contemporary novel, is available today! Pick up your copy at your favorite retailer!

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Leanne Strong hates June eighth even though it’s supposed to a day for celebration.  Fifteen years ago on that date, baby Leanne was purported to be miraculously healed of a spinal cord defect after her mother prayed to a religious mystic who was later elevated to sainthood. Since Leanne’s unexplained cure, thousands of people gather in her small town every year to celebrate her miracle—a miracle she doesn’t remember but still accepts as real—most of the time.

When teen pitching phenom Braeden Dalisay moves into the house across the street from Leanne, he harbors a chip on his shoulder even larger than his athletic talent. Forced to spend the summer in the same law office, he and Leanne carry on a working relationship that vacillates between stormy and silent. After Leanne finds out that Braeden’s sister, Emeline, recently passed away, the reason for his behavior becomes clear. Emeline Dalisay was a girl who didn’t get a miracle.

Time softens Braeden’s anger, and he and Leanne eventually draw closer. But when he and his family are hit with another traumatic event, he pulls away, the unfairness of life a deep wound. Leanne wants to help Braeden and his family heal as much as she wants a relationship with him. More than that, she wants a miracle for Braeden.

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.

Have You Seen the Book Video for Shards of Light by Susan Miura?

Shards of Light is in the second in the Healer series by Susan Miura. It’s a story of a gifted teen with the ability to heal others who discovers a dark secret at the convent where she’s been sent to learn more about her gift.

“With its different characters and their special focuses and its gentle exploration of a young woman’s life in flux, Shards of Light is a beautifully evocative story that stands well alone while enhancing a series. It invites readers to reflect long after Shilo’s journey through faith and secrets comes to an end.” – D. Donovan, Senior Reviewer, Midwest Book Review

 

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Did You See…?

Leanne Pankuch was recently featured in a guest post on shadow plotting your villain’s story line on TeachingAuthors.com. Leanne is the author of the young adult fantasy, Dragon’s Truth, which is officially six-months-old. (Go to Leanne’s site to enter a contest to celebrate, but hurry! It ends September 30th!)

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In case you don’t know what shadow plotting is (We didn’t until we read the interview!), it’s plotting the main character’s and the villain’s journey in your writing process. There’s so much more to it than that, though, so you’ll want to go read the complete article/interview. You may find a better way to chronicle the journeys of your lead characters!