Young Adult Literature

I have had a difficult time enjoying the novels for this course. I believe that this is because they are

intended for young adults and I have finished exploring that area of literature. I have always read a lot,

but have not read a Young Adult novel since high school. I think these novels are clearly targeted for a

younger audience. I am going to analyze each novel we have read and argue the big theme that makes it

more appropriate for a younger audience, other than the obvious age of characters.

The Shore Girl is a novel about finding place; a topic we have talked about in a lot of the novels.

Finding a place of belonging is a process that all young adults go through. Young adulthood is a time

when you are between places. You have just left elementary school and now have to decide what to do

with your life and have five years to figure it out. High school is a time when young adults are finding

their place, which is why it is such a prominent theme in young adult literature. I feel, as an adult, if I

have not found my place, I have at least found the path towards it. This is what I find Rebee’s situation

in trying to find place something that makes the novel too young for me.

In Swimmers Hunter has to deal with the dramas of friendships. Yes, this is something that is dealt all

ages. However, Hunter’s way of dealing with the problem is something more real to young adults than

to adults, I believe. Hunter deals with Niall by leaving the situation; leaving the entire province behind.

This is something I see more young adults doing: leaving the problem rather than facing it. This is why

I believe the novel is for a younger audience. Hunter’s behaviour is more how a young adult is expected

to behave than an adult.

The Lesser Blessed is full of profanities and sexuality. I found in my years of high school profanities

and sexuality were at the forefront of gossip and discussions between friends. It was all about how

many swear words you knew and who had sex, what kind, etc. The way profanity and sexuality are

brought about in the novel seemed the way young adults dealt with it. As an adult, I find we still do

participate in the use of profanities and sexuality in discussions, but we also know when to be more

professional. The fact that profanities and sexuality was everywhere in the text made it unappealing to

me, but would have appealed to me in high school.

The Crazy Man was the one novel I did enjoy. I think this is because rather than dealing with a theme or

issue that was relevant to young adults, it looked at a historical issue: mental illness. A historical issue

does not belong to just one age, usually, which is why The Crazy Man appeals to all ages. It is the one

exception in this class because it is not a Young Adult novel; it is actually categorized as Children’s

Literature.

Finally, Blink and Caution is a novel driven by the plot. Although adult novels can be plot driven as

well, they usually have more depth. Blink and Caution has no depth; everything is written for the sole

purpose of the plot. I think plot driven novels are especially appealing to young adults because they are

going through a time of struggle in life (as mentioned above the struggle to find place) and plot driven

novels are a form of escape. However, to really enjoy a plot driven novel you need to turn off your

brain. I think that this is what makes it a young adult novel: the ability for young adults to turn of their

brains a lot easier than adults.

This is a class on Canadian Young Adult literature. As such, it is an expectation that these novels are

categorized as Young Adult fiction. We have discussed readership before in the class quite a bit, but I

feel that it is fairly obvious that all these novels are intended for young adults.

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One thought on “Young Adult Literature

  1. I agree that all these novels are quite obviously YA texts, and I appreciate the analysis you’ve given for each! I have to say that I would argue that finding place, as you mention in regards to the The Shore Girl, is something that we do our whole lives. While there certainly is a lot of “finding yourself” during young adulthood, I don’t think it stops when you become an adult. For instance, many kids move away from home to go to university and must find a new place of comfort, and a new group of friends. Then once you finish university, you must find another new place, whether it be continuing your education, or finding a job, travelling, etc. Other things may happen to us, like divorce, or death of family members, and we must then start the process all over again of finding our place in the world. We are always finding ourselves in new situations, and we must adapt and recreate our sense of home and purpose. Nevertheless, The Shore Girl is definitely still a YA text. I agree with you that many of the themes in these texts are quite clearly directed at young adults, particularly Blink and Caution. The Crazy Man was also my favorite text, and it definitely deals with issues that are applicable to any age.
    – Julie Buoy

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