Young Adult Literature

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Deconstructing YA Literature in "Me and Earl and the Dying Girl"

On the surface, Jesse Andrews’ debut novel "Me and Earl and the Dying Girl" (2012) might seem like another Young Adult novel with quirky teen characters and a bittersweet coming-of-age story. But is there more to the novel than meets the eye? Analyze how the characters comment and critique certain cliches found in YA literature and how it deconstructs this facet of the literary community.

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    Can YA Lit still benefit and be enjoyable to adult readers? Does it need a fresh start?

    There tends to be a negative stigma attached to Young Adult literature these days. It’s too cliché, it’s all the same, there too many vampires, angels or oppressing dystopian societies etc etc. And it seems once you’ve passed a certain age you’re looked down on for still reading and enjoying these books. Do you, as an adult, walk down the Young Adult aisle and fear the judging eyes on you from behind? As if they’re silently telling you to grow up? Is this a problem within the genre or people in general? Do you believe that we need a fresh wave of writers to bring a new edge to the idea of Young Adult literature to crack this stigma attached?

    • I completely understand your concern about the stigma surrounding YA. I would be the first to disagree with you and the genre, except that I found that the true value in YA is with the wisdom entrusted within the prose and the imagination. Nothing ever changes in life, the more we progress in time, the more certain things remain constant, is the way I see it. I find myself going back to the tried and true pages of text, and realizing how powerful the messages were, I was just too distracted and inexperienced to make sense of it. YA is at the bottom of my list of books to read, but certainly will remain a vital recourse when I ever hit that road block every writer faces. – lofreire 3 weeks ago
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    • YA is going through a trilogy phase for sure. – Munjeera 3 weeks ago
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    • There has also been a trend in YA of forced social issues taking precedence over the plot. If these themes are at the forefront, it starts to feel more like a lecture than a narrative. Social issues should happen organically in fiction and leave the reader with enough information to discuss and form their own opinions. – AGMacdonald 2 weeks ago
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    • I'm suspicious of the YA designation because so much of the time, the books seem to be pretty similar (not necessarily with plot devices or dystopian view, but in their view of young adulthood as-told-from privileged adulthood). Also, YA is a pretty profitable market, hence the cliches and repetition. The genre designation is very convenient as a marketing and book-sales tool. As for "outgrowing" YA, that's why the publishing industry has a growing interest in the term New Adult, which is a kind of transitional term between YA and Adult fiction -- that might be an interesting place to look to answer this question of stimga. – belindahuang18 4 days ago
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    What's new in Young Adult Literature

    We’ve read the Hunger Games, The Divergent Series, and The Maze Runner series, but what’s next? What new adventures are in store for young adults? Essentially this will just be an article listing some recently published Young Adult novels that people can add to their reading lists. Preferably it’d be nice if the writer has read these books.

    • There are many similarities between these series, and I do believe that the next generation of Young Adult Books cannot come soon enough. I am a 20 year old who has a different taste in literature, and am working on some books that also are different from the trend of today. The differences are simple. Less focus on the romance, or a rinse and repeat story line, and more focus on what I can contribute as future inspiration for other aspiring authors. I am not writing a book, I am creating a universe. And I create this universe with the hope that it will inspire someone else to do the same. – Thomas 8 months ago
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