Millions of people are reading young adult fantasy novels like Twilight or A Court of Thorns and Roses. But the way sexual consent is depicted in these can be confusing or even harmful.
Trixie Belden wasn’t as pretty as her best friend, or a cool as Nancy Drew. But she had a ‘mental computer’ for solving mysteries and a non-judgmental moral core.
Sci-fi, fantasy and rom-coms: books with LGBTQIA+ characters are as diverse as their readers.
First published in 1986, and selling 180 million books, how does The Baby-Sitters Club look for a new generation?
Tomorrow, When the War Began (2010).
Young adult post-disaster fiction is more concerned with how we survive than understanding the causes of disaster. We can read it to explore our fears, responses and our capacity to adapt.
Normal People has been adapted for the BBC. It follows the love story of Connell and Marianne as they navigate love, class and the tricky journey into adulthood.
Books where loving someone from the other side of the tracks is about better understanding ourselves and the world we live in.
Summer is a great time to catch up on some reading.
A children’s literature professor recommends some of her favourite books for high school kids.
Nataliia Budianska via Shutterstock
Here’s a bumper crop of thought-provoking and engaging novels for enquiring minds.
Young adult fiction books on display at an independent bookstore.
An English professor says educators should use “Speak” – an often banned novel about sexual assault – to engage young people about the topic.
Zoey Deutch in the film Vampire Academy (2014).
Angry Films, Kintop Pictures, Preger Entertainment
Gothic fiction has become the ideal genre for exploring the grotesque, frightening aspects of coming of age. And disruptive girls with supernatural powers have replaced the passive heroines of old.
Female protagonists are forging a new way in contemporary young adult fiction.
Female protagonists in young adult fiction are unlikely heroines who embrace their flaws. But when it comes to diversity, they are still largely white and middle class.
Tackling tough topics from racism and bullying to Indigenous identity and the holocaust, young adult fiction can challenge stereotypes and encourage critical thinking. Pictured here, an illustration from ‘Skim’ by Mariko Tamaki, the fictional diary of a depressed Japanese-Canadian girl.
Five novels for young adults that boldly tackle tough issues - from racism, to Indigenous identity and the Holocaust - to cultivate critical thinking in the classroom and at home.
Young adult literature is starting to explore death in depth.
Death used to happen off the page in kids’ books, but not anymore. They kill each other in The Hunger Games, and 13 Reasons Why graphically describes the impact of teen suicide.
Platform 9 and ¾, the portal to Harry Potter’s magical world, at Kings Cross in London.
Harry Potter image from www.shutterstock.com
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, the first in the phenomenally successful series, turns 20 this month. Despite criticism of their status as ‘literature’, the books remain a magical experience for children.
The ‘sky in silver lace’ is Vivienne’s euphemistic metaphor for the encroaching hard times.
The Melling sisters — like Alcott’s March sisters and Austen’s Bennetts — are four girls who become women during the course of Robin Klein’s trilogy of novels. The Sky in Silver Lace is the most bittersweet of the three.
'Watercolor' via www.shutterstock.com
The young adult novel “Eleanor & Park” is a frequent target for book challengers. But swears and sex aside, there’s something deeply subversive – and important – about this controversial book.
A book about drug addiction and prostitution aimed at ‘young adults’ was a very daring thing 20 years ago.
This year saw many notable books, looking at a diverse range of experiences.
Young adult fiction has been having a much needed conversation around diversity. In 2015 we saw this discussion bear fruit, as a new crop of diverse, absorbing and powerful stories sprang up.
Can learning to write about sex help young people navigate their love lives?
Sex is part of young people’s lives. So how do we teach young authors to navigate tricky narrative waters when they write about it?
‘I once asked Terry why he hadn’t killed off a particular character. He looked at me askance.’
EPA/Alessandro Della Bella
‘I knew and counted Terry among my friends, and I watched Alzheimer’s slowly and insidiously strip him of attributes and faculty.’ So what can we make of his final Discworld novel, published posthumously?