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Archive for June, 2013

Reality in YA Novels

copyright 2013 by Sherry Garland

Shadow of the Dragon

Shadow of the Dragon

As you can tell from my previous posts, I’m not a big fan of the paranormal/supernatural vampire-werewolf-wizard novels that have been so prevalent during the past few years. I’m not saying that some of them aren’t well-written and wildly entertaining, but it’s just not my cup of tea. Give me real people, real situations, real places.

To me, realistic fiction can be set in the past or the here and now. For example, something like Gone with the Wind is realistic because it covered real historic events. But many people define “realistic YA fiction” as contemporary fiction that deals with the problems of today’s teenagers: peer pressure, coming of age, first love, acceptance, identity crisis, drugs, teen pregnancy, suicide, a current event and so forth. There may be elements of mystery or romance entwined, but the plots are moved along without the intervention of vampires or other supernatural critters.

At the recent BEA convention, a panel of YA authors discussed the realistic YA genre and came to the conclusion that it is starting to pick up momentum, after years of taking a back seat to vampires and zombies and werewolves. Readers want stories and characters they can relate to. This is one reason the bSong buffalo boy - pbooks of John Green are so popular. For more in-depth information about this BEA panel, read Publisher’s Weekly article: The ‘Real’ World: A BEA 2013 Children’s Panel.

I got my start in the world of children’s literature by writing realistic fiction and also realistic historical fiction. I’ve seen realistic YA fiction, like ocean tides pulled by the phases of the moon, come and go. Maybe it’s finally time for reality to wash ashore, bringing life to authors who’ve been eagerly awaiting its return.

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