Young Adult Literature Today
As young adult literature has matured, authors have begun to “tackle more serious subjects and to introduce more complex characters and considerations of ambiguity” (Cart, 2001, p. 96). The boundaries of young adult literature have expanded as authors explore topics of cruelty and crime, personal abuse, and racial violence (Dresang, 1999), accompanied by a change in the perspectives represented in literature. The previously unheard voices of gays, lesbians, the homeless, and people with disabling conditions now join the voices of adolescents who are speaking out in books through their journals, diaries, and letters. Young adult literature is “as varied as the multimedia mix of teenagers’ lives, as complex as their stormy emotional landscapes, as profound as their soul-shaping searches for identity, as vital as their nation-forming future” (Aronson, 2001, p. 11). In Expanding Your Knowledge with the Internet 1–1, you will find the URLs for a few general young adult literature web sites.
What, then, is contemporary young adult literature? Aronson (2002) calls it a blend of enduring adolescence and constant change.
An agglomeration of instabilities...[i]t requires us simultaneously, to define three inherently unstable terms: what are young adults, what is literature, and what is the literature that has some special link to those readers. (Aronson, 2001, pp. 31–32)
For our purposes, young adult literature will be defined as literature in prose or verse that has excellence of form or expression. Merriam-Webster’s Encyclopedia of Literature (1995) provides a unique adolescent point of view (Herz & Gallo, 1996) and reflects the concerns, interests, and challenges of contemporary young adults (Brown & Stephens, 1995). In sum, it provides a roadmap for readers 12 to 20 years of age (Bean & Moni, 2003).
Expanding Your Knowledge with the Internet
A variety of Internet sites have information on young adult literature such as the High School Teachers’ Site at Random House http://www.randomhouse.com/highschool/ and The ALAN Review (Assembly on Literature for Adolescents of NCTE) at http://www.alan-ya.org/. Links to these and many additional sites are found on this book’s Companion Website at http://www.prenhall.com/bucher.
© ______ 2006, Allyn & Bacon, an imprint of Pearson Education Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. The reproduction, duplication, or distribution of this material by any means including but not limited to email and blogs is strictly prohibited without the explicit permission of the publisher.
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