Over the last seven weeks we’ve explored seven characteristics that make young adult literature uniquely young adult. This week (in part as I just finished my novel’s third draft –hooray—and I need to regroup), the recap is below.
• Young adult stories marinate in ANGST. Not the laughable, melodramatic angst often associated with black-clad, love- lorn teenagers. Angst that comes from feeling things first before understanding them intellectually.
• To teens, LOVE feels real, complex, and unbelievably urgent.
• For better or worse, young adults live in THE NOW, and young adult literature pushes the boundaries of living only in the present moment.
• Young adults readers are in active pursuit of THE TRUTH.
• Young adults read to know they’re NOT ALONE, to experience the relationships they want, and to find invitations back to family, in particular the perspectives of old people.
• Young adults read for a demonstration that life is going on ELSEWHERE, to see themselves in more interesting settings, to learn what they can’t at home.
• Young adult read to be introduced to options they didn’t know they had through protagonists who TAKE ACTION, and so the ending of a young adult novel is usually a new beginning.
This list certainly does not claim to be exhaustive. I’d love to hear if anyone else has more important descriptors to add!
Coming soon… characters who tell stories and great places to write!