Last week, I blogged about some of the interesting new children’s titles that had caught my eye. In recent years, YA fiction has rightly developed as a genre apart from younger children’s fiction, and there are some fantastic young writers out there catering for the needs of this age group. Most adults would accept I think that the pressures on teenagers these days are numerous and new, and for many parents navigating this unknown terrain can be challenging and worrying. In the same way that children’s literature can help our little ones work through some of their fears and worries (from the monster under the bed to the impending arrival of a sibling), so YA fiction can help teenagers deal with the issues they face, when they may feel their parents just don’t understand.
Here are a few of the titles that have attracted me.
Irish writer Orlagh Collins’s story No Filter covers traditional teen territory, that of first love. It tells the story of Emerald who comes from a privileged background, and appears to enjoy an outwardly perfect life. Then Emerald discovers her mother unconscious on the bathroom floor and her world begins to fall apart. She is sent off to stay with her grandmother in Ireland for the summer, where she meets Liam, and begins to reevaluate what’s important.
Just Fly Away is the debut novel from 1980s brat-pack actor, turned award-winning director and author Andrew McCarthy. It tells the story of fifteen year old Lucy who discovers that she has a half-brother, the result of an affair her father had, living in the same town. Like No Filter it is a novel about secrets and lies, as Lucy escapes to Maine to live with her grandfather, himself estranged from the family, and to work through the confusion and torment her discovery has left her with.
Finally, on a different topic, there is All the Things that Could Go Wrong by Stewart Foster which concerns the relationship between two boys, initially at loggerheads, who find common cause when they are forced to spend time together. Alex suffers from OCD and worries about everything. His condition is so severe that he rarely leaves home. Dan is angry, because his older brother Alex has left home and he feels lost. Initially, he takes it out on Alex, whom he perceives as weak and ineffectual, but the boys’ mothers force them together on a garden building project and the understanding that develops between is healing for both.
I hope one of these might be of interest for your teenager. Better still, take them along to the library or bookshop and let them choose something themselves.
I’d love to hear what your teens are reading just now.
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2 thoughts on “The latest in YA books – books for teens”
My youngest goddaughter has just hit fifteen. She is very politically and socially aware but finds sustained reading difficult so I bought her two short story collections that address the sort of issues that concern her: ‘Here I Stand – Stories that Speak for Freedom’ from Amnesty International and ‘A Change is Gonna Come’.
Yes, I know what you mean. My son is 16 and also finds concentration difficult to sustain in a book. He prefers audiobooks. Short stories are a great idea too though. Has she read ‘Everything Everything’? It might not be her kind of subject matter, but the format of the book is quite varied (not just pages and pages of endless text) so she might find it easier to focus. I really enjoyed it!