While working on Dauntless last year, I steeped myself in the world of YA fiction. Although the heroines are much younger than me, much about these books resonates in a universal sort of way. On the secular side, they tend to be clean, action-packed, and not afraid to ask the hard questions about life. On the Christian side, they are actually edgier and more real than many of their adult counterparts. Teens won't tolerate anything fake or cheesy, and since I won't either, YA fiction is a great fit for me.
Here's a quick overview of the books I read during that time to help me understand the YA fiction market. In future posts I will share some of the books I've read more recently.
Perhaps my biggest surprise was to learn that a book I stumbled on last year and looooved, Prophet by
R. J. Larsen, is considered YA I gobbled up this book in just a few
days and enjoyed every word. I was mesmerized by her strong, courageous,
spiritual heroine. I've been looking for an excuse to buy books two and
three, and never even realized they were YA until my agent mentioned
it to me. These books are called speculative, but I would describe them more
as fantasy set in the Biblical era. Whatever they are, they're awesome,
and I highly recommend them.
I also gave Twilight a
try, something I probably wouldn't have done if it wasn't for research
purposes. This book did have a special sort of magic. I couldn't put it
down. And yes, it's romantic on an epic scale. While the vampire element
seemed completely fantasy-like and didn't bother me, I cannot in good
conscience recommend it, especially not for teens. I
felt the message of the book was that love conquers all, even if your
boyfriend is inherently evil. Therefore, I felt girls could use this as a
justification to get involved with destructive individuals like abusers
and addicts. In fact, Edward's craving for Bella's blood is flat-out
described as an addiction. There's a very real possibility he might kill
her. The impression is given that playing with fire is somehow
romantic. As a woman who has had a good bit of experience with both the pros and cons of romance, let me offer my opinion, it's not! While
I don't think the author had bad intentions, I also do not think she
fully thought through her responsibility to her young
So those were the books that helped me grasp the feel of the YA fiction world. Feel free to share some of your own favorite YA novels.