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More about YA literature
February 18, 2014
Did you have a good winter? Well, I am certainly glad that the chill is over.
Themes in Young Adult LiteratureThis is not an exhaustive list, but is informative nonetheless:
Real Teen problems: Sex, drugs, drinking
This is an obvious one. We already know that YA literature deals with young adults. It is no surprise therefore that the story will, and rightfully should, revolve around teenage angst. Sex, drugs, alcohol are the top trouble makers for teenagers. So you will find these issues in almost all YA books. In Looking for Alaska, Miles Halter gets a good dose of these in Culver Creek. Sexuality, or romantic love, is a predominant theme in The Fault in our Stars. An offshoot of this theme is also a very real interest towards the opposite gender. The quest for romance does fill up a lot of our young adult protagonists’ time.
Though adults are never center stage in YA literature, they do play peripheral parts in these novels. They are often portrayed as villains, or jerks and exert an influence in the young adult's life. In The Fault in our Stars, we have Peter Van Houten who influences the main characters in deep, meaningful ways. In Looking for Alaska too we have Alaska’s dead mother, who continues to affect Alaska even in her absence.
Journey/ Self Discovery
In most cases, our young adult protagonist gets to experience a physical journey in the book. Or in other cases, s/he experiences a metaphysical internal transformation through the course of the book. This is why these books are also called coming-of-age novels. In Looking for Alaska, our boy, Miles Halter, travels from a dull and boring Florida to an exciting young adult hub called Culver Creek in Alabama. In The Fault in our Stars, the two main characters, Hazel and Augustus, travel to Amsterdam where they experience several life changing events.
Book Review Circle gossipI wanted to highlight a common misnomer used colloquially while addressing YA literature. It is often called a genre. But truth is, YA literature is simply that: literature which is written for the young adult readership. It is not a genre per say, because within the gamut of YA literature we can have thrillers, romance, satire, drama, comedy, and you know what not…
Book Review Circle suggested read:I mentioned a good reading list at the beginning of this page and also picked out some thematic examples from two books by John Green. Take your pick.
Test your Literary QuotientSee if you know answers to the following:
Ok. I will leave you to munch on that.
Happy reading till we meet again.
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