Originally published on the Daybreak Press Blog.
Books that are geared towards teenagers and young adults are one of the most popular and growing genres in the literary world. The Guardian even notes that over half of young adult novels are read by adults. Whether its fantasy, science fiction, chic lit, or historical fiction – young adult books have a beautiful authenticity that brings in readers by droves. What makes this genre so popular and appealing to the masses?
Nostalgia seems to be the biggest bait for adult readers of young adult novels. Not only do readers have an opportunity to slip back into times that they can look back on having survived – they can revel in moments that have passed by reliving memories drawn out by the characters in different books.
The element of escapism doesn’t escape the scene either, pun intended. Diving into a young adult novel carries an adult reader away from the responsibilities of day to day life and can be relaxing and meditative. Not all adult novels are melancholic or serious, but YA lit offers a fresh naiveté that may appeal to readers who want to experience life through a young person’s Experience…again.
Young adult novels are also crucial in helping their intended audience develop empathy and the ability to cope with interpersonal relationships in a healthy way. Stepping into someone else’s shoes can begin the journey into both self-discovery and outward exploration – helping readers learn to figure out why people who are different do things the way they do. What changes, circumstances, and beliefs lead them to what they’re doing now?
Let’s take a peek into three young adult novels and what they can bring to readers, whether they fit the intended audience demographic or not.
Sophia’s Journal. Sophia’s Journal is a young adult novel that’s also a time travel adventure. The main character hits her head in a river and is transported to pre-Civil War Kansas. There, she has to discover way to stay true to her Muslim identity while being surrounded by injustices like slavery and native American oppression. With some wholesome romance thrown in, this book may be the perfect holiday treat for history buffs and adventure-loving teens.
An Acquaintance. An Acquaintance follows the story of a Pennsylvania girl’s fight against the rising Islamophobia in her community and the growing affection she feels for a new boy at her high school. This young adult book takes readers into the intimate life of a Muslim teen girl who tries to balance her faith, her heart, and her relationships while keeping her head above water. Relatable characters will increase the chances that this book will bring the reality of Muslim Americans’ experiences to readers who may not have experienced them before. Read the first chapter excerpt HERE!
Picking up the Pieces. Picking up the Pieces chronicles the lives of one happy family in a small southern town. After returning from a trip with Doctors Without Borders, one of them is diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Faced with this reality, the rest must come to terms with the fact that their idyllic life may never be the same. This novel journeys into the world of understanding that everyone battles their own demons – young and old, men and women, parents and kids. Can the family’s unraveling hope be preserved? Watch for Hannah, Dahlia, Noreen, and Adam’s story – coming to you February 2018.
Sit back this winter with a few cups of tea or cocoa and delve into these young adult novels that will question your perspectives on the presence of Muslims in American history, the life of American Muslim teenagers, and even how the stigma and uncertainty of mental illness can tear a family apart…or bring them back together. What are you looking forward to reading the most?