Ten-something, Or What's a Young Adult, Anyway?

Those of us who grew up before the Y.A. category even existed, can certainly be excused for wondering about its parameters. The rest of us, given the current resurgence of YA literature and the dual marketing of some titles to both adult and YA audiences, may well have questions, too: is Y.A. an artificial publishing construct, a created need that serves only to segregate already alienated adolescents? Or is this "genre" a genuine literary refuge, a place where lonely teens can find, finally, acceptance and understanding?

Okay. If it was good enough for Julius Caesar, it’s good enough for me: this lecture is divided into 3 parts: Part 1)What is a Young Adult?  Part 2) Why and How did the Young Adult publishing category evolve? Part 3) Where is YA literature now? Where is it going?

1) What IS a Young Adult?

I’d like to start my discussion of adolescence with a poem by Lucille Clifton:

                                                         Note Passed to Superman

sweet jesus, superman
if i had seen you
dressed in your blue suit
i would have known you.
maybe that choirboy clark
can stand around
listening to stories
but not you, not with
metropolis to save
and every crook in town
filthy with kryptonite.
lord, man of steel,
i understand the cape,
the leggings, the whole
ball of wax.
you can trust me,
there is no planet stranger
than the one i'm from.

                       -from THE BOOK OF LIGHT

 We are all of us in this room, experts on young adulthood. Many of us have fathered (or mothered) offspring who one day, much too soon, stop believing we are perfect and start regarding us as riddled with flaws and crumbling into senescence. And even if we’ve never been parents, each of us has ourselves traveled through that heady, idealistic, frightening and confusing stage of perpetual hormonal and emotional alert known as adolescence. Each one of us can identify, if only in memory, with the strange and alien condition described in Clifton’s poem. Conveniently, this life stage corresponds, for the most part, with ages that are preceded by the number 1. So let’s provisionally, at the beginning of this talk, suggest that we’ll be discussing folks between the ages of 10 and 19. (You'll see a little later why I'm starting this range a bit lower than you may have expected.)

Now if I knew, definitively, what motivates people in this age range; that is, if I could tell you what makes teenagers tick, this room would not be a modest lecture hall, but an auditorium, nay a temple. And you all would be joined by thousands of fellow seekers, who had journeyed across miles, states, continents to hear my words of wisdom. Sorry! As appealing as that picture is, I have to put an end to it right now. I, like the rest of us, know next to nothing about why adolescents do what they do.

In proof whereof, I need to confess that my children's adolescent years were among the unhappiest of my life. I remember going into the NYC office where I worked at the time and complaining about the goings-on at home. The C.E.O. of my company overheard me -- well, of course, he did; I was wailing. He came over and tapped me on the shoulder. "I don't know if it will help," he told me. "But you might like to know that my daughter is 24 years old now, and she's my best friend. When she was your children's age, though, I remember feeling utterly powerless and afraid. All I could do was look in her eyes and tell myself: "I know you're in there somewhere. And I know that, someday, you'll come back to me." Believe it or not, that helped a lot. It was a relief to know I wasn't the only one in that leaky boat.

This, by way of letting you know that the following description of adolescence is based, not on my own singular and perilous odyssey as a parent, but on a good deal of research and on years of experience as a writer in the schools and a visiting author in classrooms ranging from pre-schools to high school honors programs. I think it’s fair to sum up what I gleaned from all this experience by reporting to you that pre-schoolers and teenagers are two groups whom I regard as, in the very nicest sense of the word, psychotic.

What I mean by this is that both these life stages are relatively free of the social, emotional, and logical constraints under which most of the rest of us operate. How may of you have watched a toddler let loose and start crying in a supermarket or bank or post office? (I raise my hand.) How many of you have been the parent of such a toddler? (My hand goes up, too.) Do you think that an adult witnessing such a scene could use logic to make the little one stop crying? "Now Katy, you know Mommy can't afford that toy. We can come back again next week when Mommy gets paid." Not too effective, huh? Or how about employing a little social shaming? "Timmy, timmy, look! Everyone is watching you cry! What must they think?" That won't work, either. And finally, what about an emotional appeal? "Rebecca, you've made Mommy so upset. See how unhappy she is?" Scratch that approach, too. Yet, suddenly, without our intervention, that same screaming toddler can turn on a dime, can be transported to sheer bliss by something s/he finds fascinating in the next NOW, when everything else is forgotten.

Teenagers, like toddlers, ride an emotional roller coaster, experiencing higher highs and lower low’s than the rest of us. I call this period the theater of adolescence, and you've all lived it. It's a time that can make high tragedy of wearing the wrong style jeans: "They’re going to think I’m a total loser; I’ll never be invited to a party again; my social life is over; can I transfer to another school?" Equally, an adolescent can  create awesome, gut wrenching joy from the smallest crumb -- say, when the right person looks at you, or, unthinkable rapture, speaks to you: "He said, 'Hi.' Just like that. 'Hi.' I heard him; everyone heard him. I’m going to die of happiness, totally expire right here where it happened, on the very same spot!"

By the way, I don’t mean to treat this emotional roller-coaster lightly. It’s real, it’s hard and fast, and it makes life more thrilling, more throbbing, more raw than it will probably ever be again. Which is why, of course, so many of us writers go back to this time over and over. When I sit down to write a book, naturally, I don’t tell myself, "Hmmm. I think I’ll write a young adult novel today." But I do go where I’m compelled, where I need to travel – for my own personal healing, for my growth as an artist, because that’s the itch I need to scratch. What a treasure adolescence is in this respect! What a wondrous, intense store from which we mine wounds and fury, hope and bliss! Anyone who can reclaim their seat on that teenage roller coaster, is sure to step down from the ride more vulnerable, more hopeful, and more fully alive.

Now just in case there are some of you who crave proof, who want factoids to write down, let me give the final word of this first section on adolescence to science. It turns out, you see, that several recent studies support what mothers, teachers, -- and writers who do school visits -- have known all along: the brains of pre-schoolers and teenagers are "under construction." There are, according to studies in California and Boston, two times in our lives when our brains are losing gray matter as we trim away neural connections and branchings – yep, you guessed it: the ages between 1 and 3; and between 12 and 20. The frontal lobes, responsible for decision-making, emotional control and organization undergo the greatest change between puberty and early adult-hood. In an experiment at a Boston hospital, teen’s brains failed to register shades of emotion in photos of other’s faces. "No wonder," says a Newsweek reporter, "looking daggers at a teen hardly gets a rise out of him." And no wonder, I’d add on a more positive note, teenage crushes and ideals persist in the face of obstacles the rest of us would find daunting.

2) Why and How did the Young Adult publishing category evolve?

All right. Let’s move from this thumbnail picture of teens to the reason we’re here – a consideration of the books they choose to read. I should say, rather, the books we choose to publish for them, since like the rest of us, teens have no immediate, individual control over the business of what gets sent to the bookstore shelves. So what follows is more a survey of demographic and publishing trends then an accurate expression of teenage reading druthers, though I feel my school visits have taught me something about these and I’m going to share that with you, if there’s time, toward the end of this talk.

First, though, the history lesson: if I had been conceived at the end of World War II, instead of born then, I would be a card-carrying baby boomer, instead of an experimental prototype. And I would probably be a lot less confused about Young Adult literature. Full-fledged boomers grew up with YA titles; I did not.

Which means that, once I had read Wind in the Willows and the Jungle Books; once I’d finished L. Frank Baum’s Oz series (I drew the line at Ruth Plumly Thompson’s sugary follow-ups); once I’d read all of Albert Payson Terhune’s dog novels, polished off the Wyath-illustrated versions of Treasure Island and Robinson Crusoe, and devoured every last one of the Narnia books....well, then I had to make a choice: it was Nancy Drew or leap into the abyss, that alluring, naughty, very, very long-winded world of adult books. I, wisely I think, chose the abyss. The result was that I read The Caine Mutiny at age ten, most of it sailing (metaphorically) right over my head; I was titillated but puzzled by the same author’s Marjorie Morningstar at age eleven; captivated by the rolling, overblown language of I, Claudius at 12; and swept tremblingly away by Look Homeward Angel at 13.

Was I precocious? Reading-gifted? A poseur? None of the above. I simply had no choice. I waded into the sea of adult literature and started paddling. No one came out to meet me half way; no one steered me toward stories about me, about my world, and my fears and hopes.

But librarians began doing just that for teenagers when teenagers began to overwhelm the school system and the population. As the "real" baby boomers reached puberty, their demographics literally shook the rafters, and schools, libraries and institutions of all kinds had to make room for them. That’s when YA literature officially began.

The 60’s, then, saw the first separate YA library sections. These early YA shelves included adult books chosen by librarians for their brash, exotic lure, books like Hesse’s Siddhartha, Castenada’s The Teachings of Don Juan, Cleaver’s Soul on Ice, and Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye. Such calls to rebellion were mixed with tamer fare, adult titles that had long been read by children – fantasy like Lord of the Rings (J.R.R. Tolkein), and science fiction like Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert Heinlein, Isaac Asimov (I, Robot; Tomorrow’s Children (Sadly, not his fine Shakespeare studies!) and Ray Bradbury (The Martian Chronicles, Fahrenheit 451; Something Wicked This Way Comes.)

But it wasn’t just librarians who needed to make space for the children of Woodstock. It was publishers too. And just what sort of book did adult publishers think flower children wanted? The problem novel! – which, to give those pushy grownups credit, sold like hotcakes: alcohol, drug addiction, incest, abuse, – you name it. For a while, it looked as if American youth were not individuals with separate personalities and needs, but a conglomeration of every worst case scenario from the self-help books that had become such a fad among adult readers at this time. Shocking, scary and easy to read; easier still to forget, most of these books no longer hold up today, though a few like the "anonymous" Go Ask Alice (Beatrice Sparks and others wrote this preachy book – see http://www.snopes.com/language/literary/askalice.asp ) remain famous, if not for their literary quality, then for their place in the history of YA lit.

If the sixties was the era of the YA problem novel, the seventies featured its paperback revolution. One of my former agents (yes, I’ve had a few before settling happily into un-agented obscurity), George Nicholson was, during this time, an editor at Dell. Long before I dreamed of agents (or publishing) he got the idea of a lifetime. Why not, he thought, give young readers on the go small, inexpensive, mass marketed books? The YA paperback was born. And so were specialized YA authors, who happily, put the formula problem-book writers to shame. Welcome Judy Blume (Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret), Paul Zindel (The Pigman; My Darling, My Hamburger (( a problem novel with a difference)), Bruce Brooks (The Moves Make the Man – third wall), Robert Cormier (I Am the Cheese, The Bumblebee Flies Anyway....((Tenderness)), Susan Cooper (Dark is Rising trilogy ((The Gray King))), and Katherine Paterson (Of Nightingales that Weep; Jacob Have I Loved, Bridge to Tarabithia, The Great Gilly Hopkins, and so many others). This decade saw the birth of real, honest-to-goodness YA writers, authors who brought great gifts, authority and love to literature for teens and pre-teens.

But once the 80’s dawned, the times they were a’changing again. The funding that had been readily available for Young Adult library sections and community youth programs dried up as the baby boomers grew up and out of the YA age range. As they matured, though, they had children of their own and created what former editor and author Marc Aronson calls a second-wave "boomlet," a huge increase in the youngest segment of the population. What happened next is the prelude to bookselling as we know it now: YA librarians, last hired, were first fired, and the chains came to town. Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Borders offered more for less, more than any booksellers before them, at prices that the independents couldn’t hope to match. Those giants with actual storefronts, not only cut prices, but also courted parents and their young children with huge play and reading areas, special events, book tie-ins, and shelf after shelf of the picture book and easy reader titles with which publishers rushed to feed the frenzy. Children’s publishing was, suddenly, the healthiest, hottest segment in the industry!

And teenagers? Without the specialized knowledge of teen librarians and without sufficient numbers to merit publishers investing in a whole host of new YA authors, adolescents got second-best; they got series books. The 80’s saw the advent of formula series, the first and most famous of which was Sweet Valley High. And now for the confessional part of the program. You may have noticed that most writer's lectures feature at least one moment of breast-beating. This is mine: (Assuming an AA tone) My name is Louise Hawes and I.....wrote for Sweet Valley. The full account of this dark period in my writing life is chronicled on my website (click the shoptalk link, then the lecture entitled, "Does it have to hurt?"), so I won't go into the dreadful details here. Suffice it to say that I traded seven years of my writing life for my children's college tuition. I learned important lessons, too: learned about structure (writing a novel every month does that!) and I learned, first-hand, the difference between literary and commercial fiction, and to which form I would be personally committed for the rest of my life.)

 P ublishers learned things from Sweet Valley, too: They learned that 1) you could treat readers like other consumers and trust them to look for "brand names." You got the same reading experience each time you picked up a book in the series; that's what you wanted, and that's what you got. And they learned  that 2) the only people who enjoyed being singled out as young adults or teens, were pre-teens. The cards and letters in response to Sweet Valley High came, not from students in high school, but from children in junior high. Quick to spot a market, the publishers of SVH created a spin-off, Sweet Valley Twins, featuring the SVH crowd in junior high. But lo and behold, the response this triggered, came not from middle schoolers, but from elementary school students. Ever ready to reap new profits, the publisher created Sweet Valley kids. At this rate, I was fully convinced were were going to produce Sweet Valley Kindergarten and then Sweet Valley Embryos, but mercifully, the fad died.  But not before a hit TV show, and not before young readers had become consumers in the eyes of publishers. And not before the  YA label crept lower and lower. The lesson had been learned: young readers like to read "up."

Which is why the 90’s saw such confusion over reader categories like YA and middle grade; why terms like "high-YA" to designate teens over 15, and low YA, referring to kids as young as 10, came into use. It’s why awards like the Printz, for high-YA titles, was established even though the Newbery was already frequently being awarded to books for the 11-14 year old crowd. And it’s why librarians began to bifurcate their Young Adult sections, steering older readers to a mix of books reminiscent of the 60’s – that is, an assortment of titles that included both books written and published for teen readers, as well as adult titles that seemed appropriate for young readers anxious to "read up."

3) Where is YA literature now? Where is it going?

Flash forward to today and to the last part of this lecture: Where is YA lit now? And where is it going? This year, in School Library Journal, Karen Cruze, a dedicated, savvy librarian at the NY Public Library, reported her losing battle with a seventh-grader who resisted the suggestion that she might enjoy reading Joan Bauer’s Rules of the Road. This book was a Best Book for Young Adults and a Notable Children’s Book in the same year. Which means that, when a library can afford it, it will be housed in both the children’s and the YA sections. "Because [our] Young Adult copy was out," Cruze writes, "I steered [this reader] toward the Juvenile shelves. "I don’t read books from here anymore," she said. When I explained we had books by Bauer in both spots, she looked at me skeptically. I actually got the book in her hand, though, before she spied a new YA book with a glitzy pink, black, and silver cover, and that was it for Bauer."

That glitzy book cover, as many of you know, is just the tip of a marketing ice berg. Some of the larger houses are making expensive, greedy grabs for herdable pre-teens: Harper Collins has promoted several of its recent titles with text-messaging campaigns; others are handing out free books at rock concerts. And of course, many publishers have developed elaborate websites, especially for books like Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants that are linked to movies; these sites, and many individual author sites feature screensavers, ringtones, blogs and the more and more popular option, pod-casts. The internet has only begun to be tapped by publishers who, don’t forget, are the same people that insist, even in the age of computers, on holding back royalties for six-months and making edits by hand on hard-copy manuscripts!

It seems clear to me that as publishers push the YA label lower (most YA titles are now labeled 10 and up), they’ve abandoned the readership for whom the designation was originally created. (And pushed readers who may not be ready for them toward books like Rainbow Party, or series like Making Out, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer, all of which are currently marketed and shelved as YA titles.) If fifth, sixth and seventh graders, like the girl I just mentioned, think of themselves as YA readers, where do older teens go to find books that speak to them? It’s my experience that most 15-19 year olds, who have truly earned the YA sobriquet by dint of driving, voting, or even fighting for their country in far-flung, inhospitable corners of the world, are now doing what readers their age did before the YA label was invented —they’re looking for their stories in the Adult sections of libraries and stores.

The older teens I know don’t want to be seen within shouting distance of their library’s YA section. Most, too, are tired of the way schools treat YA fiction. (During a recent visit with teen bookclub members, I asked the kids why they were reading the some of the same books they'd been assigned in school. They explained that they'd hated the books in school, because they'd been forced to write book reports on them, and to answer "cognitive skills" questions about each one, when all they wanted to do was read them for fun!) These older teens don’t want to mix business with pleasure, school with stories. Which is why, when left to their own devices, many of them seek out adult escapist fantasy that’s certain not to be "assigned" reading in school. (Yes, that means titles by Phillip Pullman and Christopher Paolini, but it also means they’re reading Douglas Adams (Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy; So Long and Thanks for All The Fish), Piers Anthony (A Spell for Chameleon, the rest of the Xanth series, Incarnations of Immortality), and Dan Brown (Da Vinci Code, Angels and Demons); other hi-YA’s are drawn to adult books with protagonists whose problems and lives more closely resemble their own. Which explains the success with YA readers of adult fiction that features young characters, books like The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd, Never Let Me Go, by Kazuo Ishiguro, My Losing Season by Pat Conroy). Doesn’t All this cross-over reading certainly explains why Harper Collins and a few other far-sighted houses have begun dual-marketing their YA titles, issuing two separate editions, one with a cover for teens to be shelved in the YA section, and another for adults.?

Yes, to answer my own question. Of course, teens reading up have helped trigger double marketing. But there’s another reason -- another untapped market. YA authors and librarians have known for a long time about the secret, undercover adult readers of YA lit. I can't tell you how many adults confess to me, sheepishly, that instead of giving my books to their children and grandchildren, they read them themselves, by flashlight, I assume, under blankets, I gather J Some of these people grew up with YA authors and don’t want to let them go. Others simply know a good, daring, concise read when they see one. I’ve listed only a few of the high-YA titles (even some middle grade books) that can and should be appreciated by many more adult readers than have ever heard of them. Double marketing is one way this can happen.

 But double marketing is expensive. Far too costly to enable publishers to treat every book that deserves it this way. So what’s the solution? How can we get these fine books to as many readers as possible? Let me give you two ideas, one that’s as likely to happen as pigs soaring into clouds; a second that’s relatively inexpensive and eminently do-able: Number one -- In a galaxy far, far away, in my dream library, there would be NO age sections at all. Divisions, if any, would be by genre or content, not readership. Picture, if you will, an Abraham Lincoln reading tower in the biography room. It is arranged vertically and conveniently, with picture book biographies of Lincoln (the first place I start any research) on the bottom shelves where little kids can reach them; with middle grade biographies next; then longer books, for both teens and adults on the higher shelves. Yes, there would be carrels and chairs scattered around, but the readers sitting in them would be old and young, forced to mix and mingle and share their enthusiasms for the topic.

In my dream library, adults, very few of whom currently read picture books -- unless they’re parents or teachers or writers (or students in MFA programs :-) -- these readers would discover the fun, lyricism and sophistication of contemporary picture books. Young children who want to know more than a picture book tells them, could read "up," maybe finding a chapter book or an easy reader about Lincoln. Middle graders would be able to read "up" and "down" without shame, and all of our reading worlds would be broader, richer. By extrapolation, picture a poetry tower, a mystery tower, a self-help tower, a tower of faith, a holiday tower, and on and on, as the season and whims of readers and librarians dictate.

Make sense? I think so. Is it going to happen? Probably not before those avian swine I mentioned take to the sky. So what else can we do? How can we bring fine, sensitive titles to the attention of both hi-YA readers and adults? Simple; we can move hi-YA titles off separate shelves and put them in the adult sections of libraries and bookstores. Most hi-YA’s aren’t labeled on their jackets, anyway, so all we need to do is physically pick them up and put them down again, alphabetically by title with adult fiction. Once we do this, hi-YA becomes a genre, not a ghetto. and this designation, like mystery or romance or self-help, indicates the content, not the age-appropriateness, of a book.

In this way, we could achieve a snippet of the lovely "tower dream" I just described. By virtue of the alphabet, you see, an "adult" title like The Diagnosis by Alan Lightman, might end up next to a "Hi- YA" book like Chris Lynch’s Freewill. (Parenthetically, guess which of these two stories about a breakdown is more experimental in form?  --The YA novel is written in the second person! And guess which book readers of any age are likely to find packs the biggest emotional wallop? Lynch's gripping novel is about one, fully realized individual, rather than a symbolic surrogate for every modern man.); Under S, Lisa See’s adult title, Snow Flower and the Secret Fan might become the neighbor of Sandy Salisbury’s young adult collection, Blue Skin of the Sea. (Guess which of these books, both based in an exotic cultural context, this reader found most lyrical and character-driven?) How about the D’s? E.L. Doctorow’s The March could be shelved with Jennifer Donnelly’s A Northern Light. (Guess which historical novel this reader feels penetrates character most deeply? Guess which puts you in the period most convincingly?)

I'll spare you the whole alphabet, but you get the idea. The result of which would surely be that new reading vistas would be opened, both for adults and older teens. Teens would now find Booker prize winners next to Printz winners; they’d discover books like Roddy Doyle’s Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha, his pitch-perfect channeling of a ten-year old boy; or Andrea Fuller’s stunning, mind-and-heart broadening picture of growing up in Africa, Let’s Not Go to the Dogs Tonight; or Mark Haddon’s tour de force, a moving book about an un-moveable child, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time -- a novel which was, by the way, dual-marketed in England before it was published as an adult title here.

Equally important, adults would now come face to face (or face to spine) with irresistible YA books each time they visited the bookstore or library. Because if you think it’s only pre-teens like the seventh grader I mentioned earlier who are brand-conscious readers, think again. Most adults are just as reluctant to read "down." Remember the Printz? Everyone had high hopes that this award, established in 1999 and first awarded in 2000, would win new adult readers for the innovative, wondrous literature that’s being written by Hi-YA authors. But while adult books, if they feature young protagonists, will be ferreted out by teens anxious to read "up," the reverse is not true. When a book is marketed and labeled as YA (and nothing says YA like that silver Printz medal!), it simply drops off the radar of most adult readers. If, though, these books were shelved in the adult section, authors like M.T. Anderson, Carolyn Coman, and Brock Cole would finally find the adult readers their brilliant books deserve.

I am not,  let me be clear, recommending that low-YA, 10 to 14-year olds be deprived of the intelligent, informed and loving attention of YA librarians. I wish that I had had such wise literary advisors when I was that age. But for readers over 15 or 16, I truly believe we can serve them best through inclusion, through shelving their stories beside ours, and through recognizing that the time for jumping the gate, for making their own way has come.

Which means it’s time for us to step back, to stop hovering and nurturing and recommending. It’s probably even time to allow them to read whatever they want, to scandalize us with their reading choices, to become passionate about books we loathe. In Anna Quindlen’s delightful book, How Reading Changed My Life,  she describes an episode that she claims taught her about "insurrection and the assertion of personal taste." Her mother, a normally gentle and genteel woman, suddenly threw a book she was reading to the floor. "This is a dirty book!" she yelled and left the room. The book was Portnoy’s Complaint and of course, when Quindlen took a look, she found it "as funny and intelligent a novel as I'd ever read." Now, she says, "I have to wonder...what my mother was thinking that day. Didn't she know that the book felt deeply true at some level....and above all, didn't she know that I would pick it up and read it the moment she was gone?"

In other words, like their younger pre-teen counterparts, older adolescents want, in fact need, to "read up." And whether she knew it or not, Quindlen’s mom did her a favor. Because if we're perfectly honest, we librarians with our list of recommended Teen Titles, we teachers with our Reading Across the Curriculum programs, we parents with our well-intended efforts to book-chat our children, if all of us can put ourselves back into those blue tights and that flowing red cape, if we can recapture the teenager we once were, doesn't it seem clear that adolescent readers need the sort of gentle friction that makes reading "up" an act of rebellion, an "assertion of personal taste?" And isn’t this rebellion actually a very effective way of nurturing these lonely, romantic aliens, these passionate strangers among us who just may-- someday soon -- have to save the world.


1)  About Adolescents and Their Literature

Aaronson, Marc. Exploding the Myths, the Truth about Teenagers and Reading, 2001.

Abrahamson, Marla, "Why Boys Don't Read," Book. Jan./Feb., 2001.

Begley, Sharon. "Getting Inside a Teen Brain," Newsweek. April 28, 2000.

Cart, Michael. From Romance to Realism: Fifty Years of Growth and Change in Young Adult Literature, 1996.

Cruze, Karen. "The Criss-Cross Conundrum: A Look at the Implications of a "high" Newbery or a "low" Printz," School Library Journal. May 1, 2006.

Feinberg, Barbara. "Reflections on the Problem Novel: Do These Calamity-Filled Books Serve. Up Too Much, Too Often, Too Early?" American Educator. Winter, 2004-2005.

Males, Mike A. The Scapegoat Generation: America's War on Adolescents, 1996.

Jackson, Anthony, et al. Turning Points 2000: Educating Adolescents in the 21st Century, 2000.

Pipher, Mary. Reviving Ophelia: Saving the Selves of Adolescent Girls, 1995.

Pollack, William S. Real Boys: Rescuing Our Sons from the Myths of Boyhood, 1999.

Powell, K. "Neurodevelopment: how does the teenage brain work?" Nature. August 24, 2006.

Quindlen, Anna. How Reading Changed My Life.


2) Young Adults Titles that Merit Dual-Marketing

Anderson, M.T. The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing (NBA Finalist).

Cole, Brock. The Facts Speak for Themselves.

Coman, Carolyn. What Jamie Saw (Newbery Honor); Many Stones (NBA Finalist).

Cormier, Robert. Tenderness, The Bumblebee Flies Anyway.

Donnelly, Jennifer. A Northern Light (PRINTZ Honor).

Kujer, Guus. The Book of Everything.

Lynch, Chris. Freewill (PRINTZ Honor), Gypsy Davey, Inexcusable (NBA Finalist).

Mazer, Norma Fox. When She Was Good.

Portman, Frank. King Dork (QUILL Nominee).

Rapp, Adam. The Buffalo Tree.

Rosoff, Meg. How I Live Now (PRINTZ Winner).

Salisbury, Graham. Blue Skin of the Sea.

Zevin, Gabrielle. Elsewhere (QUILL Nominee).

Zusak, Markus. The Book Thief (QUILL Nominee).


3) Selected Adult Cross-Overs

Chappell, Fred. I Am One of You Forever.

Cisneros, Sandra. The House on Mango Street.

Conroy, Pat. My Losing Season.

Doyle, Roddy. Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha.

Fuller, Alexandra. Don’t Let’s Go to the Dogs Tonight.

Haddon, Mark. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.

Hosseini, Khaled. The Kite Runner.

Ishiguro, Kazuo. Never Let Me Go.

Kidd, Sue Monk. The Secret Life of Bees.

Kincaid, Jamaica. Lucy.

Niffenagger, Audrey. The Time Traveler’s Wife.

See, Lisa. Snow Flower and the Secret Fan.



© Louise Hawes 2022