Developing and Maturing (page 2)
After being bombarded with messages from parents, family, peers, television, the Internet, school, and the community, young adults must search for ways to make sense of this cacophony of voices. While attempting to discover their own identity, they ask: Who am I? What kind of person will I grow up to be? What will I be like? Developing a personal, sexual, and individual identity represents a significant (although often unconscious) task for young adults. The fact that many young adults are turning to realistic fiction for answers can be seen in the phenomenal success of Ann Brashares’ The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (2001), the first young adult debut novel to sell over 100,000 copies.
Adolescent protagonists face the challenges and struggles of growing up in many books, from H. F. Simms seeking a sexual identity in Finding H. F. (Watts, 2001); overweight outsider Elvin failing at his assigned sport slot in Slot Machine (Lynch, 1995); Raspberry equating money with security in Money Hungry (Flake, 2001); wise-guy Matt emerging from his bad-boy shell in Big Mouth and Ugly Girl (Oates, 2002); and Myrtle trying to determine just exactly who and what she is in Myrtle of Willendorf (O’Connell, 2000). While many novels, such as Virginia Euwer Wolff’s story of life in the inner city in Make Lemonade (1993) and True Believer (2001), Victor Martinez’s tale of a Mexican American teenager in the California projects in Parrot in the Oven (1996), or Rob Thomas’ novel of a gifted but troubled high school senior in Rats Saw God (1996), are very serious, more humorous narratives also exist, such as Louise Rennison’s funny British tale of Georgia Nicholson that begins in Angus, Thongs, and Full-Frontal Snogging (2000) or the diaries of Jonah Black that begin in Black Book Diary of a Teenage Stud: Girls, Girls, Girls (2001). In a series of poems, Sonya Sones tells of the maturing of 15-year-old Sophie in What My Mother Doesn’t Know (2001). Other tales that address these topics include Alice, I Think (Juby, 2003), Bloomability (Creech, 1998), Cry Baby (Karas, 1996), Goodbye, Amanda the Good (Shreve, 2000), and Homeless Bird (Whelan, 2000).
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