I am tired of “psychological thrillers” and “vampire high schools” and “science fiction masterpieces” and even “teens in dystopian worlds.” I want to read about real teen characters in real-life situations. I want to read the kind of young adult novels that got me hooked as an adult. I am looking for the Perks of Being a Wallflower or The Fault in Our Stars of 2014.
When I am looking for young adult novels to read and/or review, I am often drawn to the ones about previously “taboo” subjects. I want to see the teen protagonist struggle with the issues that real teens face today, and I want him or her to come out a better person at the end. I think it’s important that teens see realistic portrayals of themselves in literature. It makes my heart happy to see novels that talk about cancer, death, drugs, eating disorders, sexuality, etc., in ways that teens can relate to. I also find that I can connect to these types of novels better as an adult, and that they give me good insight into current teen culture, which I can use in my own writing.
Among my reading list for 2014:
Big Fat Disaster by Beth Fehlbaum (April 18, 2014)- I have been looking for a novel that portrays the struggles of a plus size teen in a non-cliché way for a long time. I have high hopes for this one. If it doesn’t do it for me, I may have to write one myself!
Beyond Magenta by Susan Kuklin (February 11, 2014)- Although not a novel, this collection of essays by transgender teens made my must-read list simply because I have never seen this topic portrayed in young adult literature before, and I think it’s about time that comes to an end.
Picture Me by Lori Weber (March 1, 2014)- Another book that addresses weight issues in teen girls and bullying. This one looks like it has potential as well.
Heartbeat by Elizabeth Scott (January 28, 2014)- A girl deals with her mother being brain dead while maybe finding love. Review of this one coming soon!