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ENG 395 - Young Adult Literature - Kane

Characteristics of Young Adult Literature

Characteristics

The protagonist is a teenager.

The events in the story revolve around the protagonist and the struggle to resolve the conflict.


The story is often told from the viewpoint and in the voice of a young adult.


The genres are written for and by young adults.


Stories don't always have happy endings.


Parents are often absent or have conflicts with the young adults in the stories.


Coming of age issues are highlighted in the various genres in young adult literature.


Many of the books contain under 300 pages, but some recent novels are often greater length.


Many adult books are now becoming appealing to teen audiences.

Cole, P. B. (2009). Young adult literature in the 21st century. Boston: McGraw-Hill Higher Education, p. 49.

Original Libguide Box by Jenni Breems & Jan Versluis, Hulst Library, Dordt College. dordt.libguides.com.

Qualities for Evalulating Young Adult Literature

Qualities
The books in the right column illustrate that particular quality.

Multi-themed Story

There are multiple themes presented in a good story.

Kit's Wilderness
Kit's Wilderness
by David Almond
Tension Not Shock

Is the story a page turner and keeps the interest of the reader?

Sureender
Surrender
by Sonya Harnett 

Memorable Characters

Characters are neither good nor bad but rich and well-rounded.

A Year Down Yonder
A Year Down Yonder
by Richard Pe
Accurate Facts and Details

Realistic detail and historically factual.

My Heart Is On the Ground
My Heart Is On the Ground
by Ann Rinaldi
Coincidences are Unlikely

Coincidences are rarely used.

No Pandering to Critics

The story's message and purpose is understood.

Original Ideas

The story is not written according to popular themes but what the author knows.

Shooter
Shooter
by Walter D.Myers
Memorable Voice and Authentic Dialogue

The language of the characters is captured by the author.

First Part Last
First Part Last
by Angela Johnson
Effective and Clear Writing Style

The writing must be effective, purposeful, consistent and clear.

How I Live Now
How I Live Now
by Meg Rosoff

Use of Humor

Using humor successfully in writing.

The Teacher's Funeral
The Teacher's Funeral
by Richard Peck
Lyrical and Poetic Language

Imagery and poetry are blended into a good novel.

Out of the Dust
Out of the Dust
by Karen Hesse
No Wasted Scenes or Characters

Everything in the story has a purpose and contributes to the development of the plot.

Holes
Holes
by Louis Sachar
Catchy Openings

Reader's attention is captured by the first few lines.

Belle Prater's Boy
Belle Prater's Boy
by Ruth White
Closings

The endings often end quickly, leaving little to think about.

Arizona Kid
Arizona Kid
by Ron Koertge

Cole, P. B. (2009). Young adult literature in the 21st century. Boston: McGraw-Hill Higher Education, p. 61-65.

Original Libguide Box by Jenni Breems & Jan Versluis, Hulst Library, Dordt College. dordt.libguides.com.

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