Hello fellow book lovers
This week Vivienne Beddoe, a book club stalwart since it’s inception 5 years ago, is my special guest contributor. An educator for many years, Vivienne has a unique insight into YA fiction; she wrote this blog in celebration of Book Week 2018.
Young adult fiction is written for those between 12 and 18, though many adults enjoy reading these books.
It is an interesting time frame as the early years have readers drifting between childhood favourites and YA fiction, while older readers will have adult fiction as proscribed texts in their study or will venture there on their own.
It is also an area which is censored by teachers, librarians and parents, though Baby Boomers will remember forays into ‘Peyton Place’ or the unabridged version of ‘The Cruel Sea’. I’m sure today’s teens find a way around parental censorship too.
Young Adult fiction covers both enthusiastic and reluctant readers. Reluctant readers, in my experience, respond well to a story, and I emphasise story, that is well told with interesting characters. Bryce Courtney, particularly ‘The Power of One’ and James Moloney ‘Bridge to Wiseman’s Cove’ are popular authors. Moloney’s ‘The Love That I Have’ which received favourable comments on our Book pages would be most suitable for YA readers.
Enthusiastic readers at this stage often move onto the classics and develop their love for Jane Austen and the Brontes at this stage of their lives. A love of Agatha Christie often begins, too.
And what stories do YA readers like?
In short, stories that challenge them and help them to grow. There are contemporary stories that deal with day to day life – fitting in a school, finding your identity, coping with family expectations, dealing with a dysfunctional family – all these young people can relate to. The first of these was probably SE Hinton’s ‘The Outsiders‘. Melina Marchetta’s ‘Looking for Alibrandi’ retains its popularity.
We are fortunate that there are so many Australian writers in this genre. Jackie French writes for all age groups and her books for young adults are popular. One of my favourites is ‘Peeling the Onion by Wendy Orr. Young people are socially and politically aware and find a chord with stories that deal with the environment or refugees. ‘Mosi’s War’ by Cathy McPhail has received wide international acclaim.
Like all readers, young people at times just want to escape so fantasy, science fiction and the paranormal are extremely attractive. JK Rowling’s Harry Potter series immediately springs to mind as does the Hunger Games and Game of Thrones series. Recent SciFi titles include ‘Zenith’ by Sasha Alberg and ‘Sanctuary’ by Caryn Lix.
Series are popular and teenagers will devour them as the above show. A very popular series has been Australian John Marsden’s Tomorrow series beginning with ‘Tomorrow When the War Began’ and continuing for seven books.
The wonderful thing about YA fiction is that can speak across the generations and provide shared experiences for us all.
Thanks, Vivienne, as someone with young people in my life, I’ll keep these suggestions on hand for the next time they are required.
Would you add any favourite Young Adult Books to Vivienne’s suggestions?
Until next week, happy reading, Karen x0x