“Youth has no age!” (Pablo Picasso)
This week we’re exploring Young Adult Fiction and it’s many permutations. But don’t despair if you’re a little long in the tooth, you need not skip this blog. I’m here to remind and reassure you that we were all adolescents once and there is something worthwhile and relatable for everyone in this dynamic genre.
First loves, first lusts, family dramas, marriages, divorces, annoying younger siblings, step families, chronic illness, suicide, accidents and other forms of premature death, drug and alcohol usage, incest, date rape, eating disorders, body dysmorphia, best friends, boyfriends, girlfriends, bullies, inspiring mentors and arch-enemy Principals, exams, detentions, first jobs, first cars, going out, coming out, lost virginity, mortifying rejection, acne, wealth, poverty, racism, popularity, unpopularity, fashion, fashion crimes, music (invariably the louder the better), endless fears and dreams and for most, belying it all, the naive invincibility of youth.
Yet the truly amazing thing about writers who delve into the YA genre is how they are able to discuss these complex life concepts, often in very few words. Take Alice Oseman for instance. Her YA Graphic Novels that make up ‘The Heartstopper’ series are able to be comfortably read in a single sitting, inspiring moments of empathy, heartbreak, anger and delight in the reader, and dealing with topics as intense and diverse as sexuality, peer pressure, bullying, fitting in, coming out and the awkward, butterfly-filled delight and self-doubt that invariably accompanies first love. The old adage states a picture tells a thousand words and Oseman certainly illustrates that a well chosen and well-crafted sketch can do all that and more.
Another master of the YA Genre is John Green. His titles such as ‘Looking For Alaska’, ‘Paper Towns’ and ‘Fault In Our Stars’ approach youth from relatable angles, his protagonists portraying characters who are simultaneously brave, flawed and somewhat fragile, while Suzanne Collins's ''Hunger Game' Series, John Marsden’s 'Tomorrow' Series, Stephanie Meyer’s 'Twilight' Series, Veronica Roth’s 'Divergent' Series and to a lesser extent Gayle Forman’s ‘If I Stay’ and it's folllow-up 'Where She Went', deal with notions of time, death, immortality vs impermanence, and social groups and hierarchies, though the lens of both youth as well as science fiction or fantasy.
And who could forget our favourite and very fiery carrot-top, Anne Shirley of L.M Montgomery’s ‘Anne of Green Gables’. Full of tenacity and verve, she storms into her adolescence as only the best teen rebel could, testing authority, standing up to bullies and learning lessons in love, humility and kindness along the way. Her relationship with Gilbert, though painted in comparatively innocent terms, due to the era in which it was written, holds up to the best teen romances of today, in terms of the feelings it evokes in the reader, and who couldn’t relate to poor Anne’s painful date with a dye bottle, after she purchased the beauty product from a travelling salesman. The resulting seaweed green hair while in the pursuit of raven black locks, a reminder to all teens to not be so quick to dismiss the beauty and originality of what they are already are or have.
Who is your favourite teen protagonist? Is there a specific YA Novel or series that has captured your heart, inspired your development or has led to some nostalgic revistations of youth? Why not pop in and find the perfect memory lane pairing or life affirming option today!
Relevant In-store Titles:
Allegiant - Veronica Roth
Anne of Avonlea - L.M Montgomery
Anne of Green Gables - L.M Montgomery
Anne Of Ingleside - L.M Montgomery
Anne's House Of Dreams - L.M Montgomery
Anne of The Island - L.M Montgomery
Breaking Dawn - Stepanie Meyer
Burned - P.C Cast
Chronicles Of Avonlea - L.M Montgomery
Daisy Jones & The Six - Taylor Jenkins Reid
Darkness, My Friend - John Marsden
Destined - P.C Cast
Divergent - Veronica Roth
Eclipse - Stephanie Meyer
Emily Climbs - L.M Montgomery
Fault In Our Stars - John Green
Fever - Amy Meredith
Four - Veronia Roth
The Giver - Lois Lowry
Heartstopper Volume 1- 4 - Alice Oseman
The Hunt - Amy Meredith
If I Stay - Gayle Forman
Insurgent - Veronica Roth
Just One Day - Gayle Forman
Let’s Get Lost - Adi Alsaid
Looking For Alaska - John Green
Never Let Me Go - Kazuo Ishiguro
Paper Towns - John Green
Shadows - Amy Meredith
The Short Second Life Of Bree Tanner - Stephanie Meyer
13 Reasons Why - Jay Asher
The Third Day, The Frost - John Marsden
Tomorrow, When The War Began - John Marsden
Twilight - Stephanie Meyer
Where I Live - John Marsden
Where She Went - Gayle Forman