The Land of Young Adult: Where Reading Gets Messy

I’m fairly certain that every parent feels their child is a genius in some capacity or another. I’ve heard it time and time again at school, at family reunions, and at my local library. This commonly held belief is extraordinary; it instills confidence in our kids, providing the “I’m capable of anything” mantra at an often impressive young age. This statement holds a significant amount of power, especially as that child develops into a pre-pubescent, hormones-on-overdrive stranger who rents a room of your house for free. This is the moment when “genius” crosses paths with “reading level” and a new territory is entered, an often humbling and occasionally polarizing world.
What consistently fascinates me about this transition is how we expect students to be able to locate books that are both at an appropriate reading level and applicable to their personal taste without ever teaching them how to do so. The land of children’s books is lawless. Pulling twenty books off the shelves at random is certain to guarantee some success. The pages strewn in technicolor to attract little, adoring eyes. Conversely, the books labeled “adult” live in rigidity. Each is a singular expectation of greatness, where your worth as a reader is based on your taste in novels. Attempting a discussion on the “literary worth” of Dickens’ Great Expectations versus James’ 50 Shades of Grey would be equally amusing and fruitless.
It’s what lives between these two sections of the library that we must foster. I recently read that the Young Adult genre can span from age ten through twenty eight. A separate article stated that students decide if they will become lifetime readers in the fourth grade. Naturally, I couldn’t help but notice that a fourth grader in the U.S. is roughly ten years old.
The Young Adult genre was designed for these students. Just as we taught them the functionality of a library and the simple joy of a bedtime story, it is imperative that we demonstrate how literature was made to grow with them. It is this effort that will make life-long readers out of kids who are making lasting decisions without necessarily realizing it. At twenty seven years old I have no interest in Barbara Park’s Junie B. Jones. That’s ok, it’s not for me, it’s for ten year olds. I would not consider myself a Young Adult, but Rainbow Rowell’s Eleanor & Park was by far the best novel I read all summer and it’s making huge waves in the Young Adult world.
Good books exist at every age and every reading level. Teach a student to find the right book at the right time and nurture their genius. 
  Alyssa Littlefield, High School English Teacher/Library Assistant

Check this out! – Young Adults for 2013

Librarians read review magazines that come out once or twice a month to know what to buy for our patrons. These magazines give books starred reviews that are the best for the month in their viewpoint. Here are some of the best ones for 2013 that you might want to check out soon at your local library.

Click on the title to check request these items!

 
The Madman’s Daughter by Megan Shepard *
“The fast-paced book is rife with excitement, romance, and intrigue.” School Library Journal (starred review)
The Tragedy Paper by Elizabeth LaBan*
“Debut novelist LaBan takes us into the private school culture as well as the heads of two charming yet very different teenage boys and their parallel love stories… Nonexistent parents, well-intentioned, likeable faculty on the periphery, elaborate dorm rooms with overstuffed closets, even the romantic, snow-covered campus all contribute to a setting that adds to the story’s heft and intrigue.”—Booklist (starred review)

Out of the easy by Ruta Sepetys**

 

With a rich and realistic setting, a compelling and entertaining first-person narration, a colorful cast of memorable characters and an intriguing storyline, this is a surefire winner. Immensely satisfying.–Kirkus Reviews, starred review
Etiquette & Espionage by Gail Carriger ****
 “Carriger’s YA debut brings her mix of Victorian paranormal steampunk and winning heroines to a whole new audience…with cleverly Victorian methods of espionage, witty banter, lighthearted silliness, and a ship full of intriguingly quirky people.”—Booklist (starred review)
Pivot Point by Kasie West *
“West’s premise is a winner, and Addie is the kind of heroine readers would want as a best friend—loyal, unpretentious, and thoughtful. What truly makes West’s story memorable, however, is Addie’s wry humor…and the book’s fascinating exploration of how life can change with one simple choice.” Publishers Weekly (starred review) 
Peanut by Ayun Halliday **
“Librarians, teachers, and parents should definitely share this book with teens looking for realistic graphic novels about schools, friendship, peer pressure, or moral choices.”—School Library Journal (starred review)
Ginni Nichols ~ Young Adult Librarian
All cover images borrowed from Google Images

Battle of the Book

Do you think that you are smarter than a 5th grader?  I am not so sure this is a true statement for me anymore.  I am a judge for the Battle of the Book over at Pittston Consolidated School and part of my duty as judge is to read 5 YA titles.  Okay, what is YA?  YA is a fairly new genre to the publishing world that concentrates on the teen and pre-teen audience.  Please think of the Harry Potter series and the Twilight series…. very large audiences and huge profits for the publishers.  Though these blockbusters are not titles for the battle, I did read books I never would have read if not for my responsibilities.

I took my duties very seriously, judges are well respected entities and I did not want to besmirch anyone.  I thought I had the titles down pat, but the teens could answer any trivia, tidbit, and theme question we threw at them, all in 30 seconds!  These students read, studied, dissected, and reviewed each title until the event.  I am so proud of the young adults that joined in on the fun.  Their teachers should be our heroes because they accomplished a very difficult feat…. they made reading fun and they made readers champions.  So, I challenge our library readers to pick up a YA title soon, these books are worlds away from my days of reading the Nancy Drew series and dreaming of the time that I would be able to drive around town in a roadster!