Reading and Sharing Young Adult Books

Reading and Sharing Young Adult Books
There are many books available in the young adult section of bookstores, libraries, and online book seller sites. Many of them are being released in both hard copy and ebook form at the same time. Whether you're a teen or a parent, there are plenty of young adult books to review, choose and read together!

The young adult category is an incredible mixture of unique writing styles in novels, graphic novels, nonfiction self-help books, as well as biographies and history. You can also find poetry volumes, and fiction books written in verse.

The onset of ebooks and self-publishing has also changed young adult book selections. Many new books are not just targeted to teens, they have also been written and published by teens! Their stories and voices are strong with a passion that makes an impact on their peer groups.

Genres and story lines have changed immensely over the years for young adult readers. You can find books that cover subjects such as life in middle or high school, first crushes, bullying, pregnancy, teen marriage, divorce, drugs, guns, death, suicide, and sexuality. The genres include contemporary coming-of-age, historical fiction, horror, romance, mystery, science fiction and fantasy — to name just a few. New genres seem to be popping up every day. Did I mention the trend of dystopia societies? And, we already know about the vampire and zombie trend.

The writing styles in young adult books has become a show case for creativity and imagination. Authors are exploring and experimenting with new ways to share their stories. I have read books in the format of doodles, emails, text messages, lists, and journals. Some are written in third person, first person, and one of my favorites, an unnamed stranger, who is not really a stranger, yet narrates from afar. We are also seeing more authors using their illustration skills.

What about young adult books with pictures that are referred to as graphic novels? They’re just for kids, right? No, they are not. Let’s first start this conversation by discussing the term reluctant reader. This term simply means an individual who is not interested in reading. It doesn't necessarily mean that they don't know how to read, they just don't choose to read. And, let's face it, our pre-teens and teens are in a very visual world. Graphics, photos, and illustrations are part of social media. The use of emojis (little digital pictures that can let others know how we feel or what we want) is increasing. Some teens just don’t want to stop and read a book. Young adult authors know this, and because they want to share their stories and characters, some have found incredible ways to incorporate images with text. Graphic novels are not always an easy breezy read. You have to follow the story in text as well as pictures. Because of their heavy presence in the visual world, our teens have this style of reading mastered!

Many middle and high schools also provide assigned fiction and nonfiction books for various classes. These books are used to study a certain event, current topic or overview a subject. Often, teachers can often provide an extra copy for a parent or reading buddy. These books can also have a section for discussion questions and essay ideas.

What if you are having trouble finding a book to read or share? I’ll tell you a secret — ask a librarian. Seriously! I hereby declare librarians to be some of the smartest people on the planet. Their jobs are about reading and sharing information. They are willing to share what they love, like or dislike. My favorite librarian even listens to me as I ramble on about characters as if they are real.

Start sharing books with your teens. You might just be pleasantly pleased not only by the stories, but by the conversations they initiate.

Please share your young adult book recommendations. Join us in the Teen Site Forum for a discussion of books and many other topics. Feel free to also start your own topic and ask questions!

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This content was written by Michelle Anne Cope. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Linda Tellier for details.