Wednesday, March 11, 2009

And the girl who dared to read Chick-Lit YA analysis!

Just as I did when I read all of those Chick-Lit books back in January, I decided that I would do the same for another genre. I plan to post a bimonthly post on an analytical aspect of books of some sort. This month’s post is in Young Adult novels.

I read Prom by Laurie Halse Anderson, Deenie by Judy Blume, Now and Zen by Linda Gerber, Torn to Pieces by Margot McDonnell, and First Daughter.

I found that most of the books followed the same general story line. Some big event happened in a normal teenager’s life that altered how they viewed the world. There aren’t too many YA books that deal with strictly the thoughts and everyday lives of teenagers. There has to be some action to keep them reading the book.

In every book, each protagonist had a great realization towards the end of the novel about their behavior or the circumstances they were put in.

I think YA books don’t strive to entertain as much as they strive to provide a source of understanding for teenagers. Often, the teenage years are characterized by turmoil in many forms. Each of the teenagers in the books experienced some big event. In Prom, it was Prom and the struggle to succeed in school and have a social life and deal with family issues. Deenie struggled with scoliosis and being accepted by her peers. Now and Zen discussed the difficulty in being who you actually are instead of acting like someone else, as did First Daughter.

Torn to Pieces was the most complicated of the books I read. It was very similar to a Lois Lowry book or The Face on the Milk Carton. I felt my heart beating so quickly throughout the few hours it took me to read this book. So much happened in the two hundred pages of the book I couldn’t handle it, and it made me wonder how the main character would have handled it! Of all the books I read, this one is the must-read!

A very common thread in all the books was that all of the protagonists were the normal kids. None of them were star students or athletes or super popular. Although this was inaccurate for real life, it is nice to have something in the world that doesn’t focus on the superstars. It isn’t the superstars who rely on a book to get them through a tough time, it is the “normal” kids. How appropriate is it that the characters are ones that they can relate to!

Of course, a lot of teenagers read these books just for entertainment, and that is fine. It is actually great! They are reading!


Ms. Yingling said...

I don't think it's just teen literature. Even books with middle aged characters have to have some problem central to the plot, or it would be hard to tell a story. I'll have to think about whether there is just one story-- doubt it, but something to think about!

Anonymous said...

I don't read many YA books anymore, but you make good points about them. I think it is good they are about normal kids, even if those kids experience abnormal situations. I guess I just never get into the drama of it, I'd rather read a book about the thoughts and lives of teenagers.

Also, good luck with all your reading this week!