Book Reviews, Life

YA Novels

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?

Life, Nonprofit Life, Webinars

Social Media & Your Writing

Writers and book lovers have been using social media as a platform to establish a presence and gain more exposure for their work for years. This concept may seem intimidating to beginning writers or those who are nervous about displaying their creative work for such a wide and public platform. There are some essential ways to not only gain a level of comfort in what is being shared online, but also utilize social media as the perfect track to becoming part of the wider community of authors, poets, journalists, bloggers and more who are working together to raise their voices up through social media.

One of the most significant aspects of your writing identity online is your actual identity. There has always existed a phenomenon in which people felt it easier to share their work while hiding behind a pseudonym. For early female writers, using a male pen name made their work not only marketable, but accepted into a publishing house (S. E. Hinton, for example). This common practice may allow some safety for you to post whatever your heart desires without the fear of personal ramifications, but can limit your ability to validate and claim your work as your own – especially if you are interested in marketing yourself to a larger publishing company.

For those of us involved in the publishing process, the easier it is to ascertain who the person behind a specific piece of writing is, the easier it is for us to feature them on a platform where they can gain even more exposure for their work. Your readers and followers want to know who to applaud for your talent! Check out Platform: Getting Noticed in a Noisy World for ways to ensure you can make a mark on social media and build your own tribe of followers.

However little or much you know about social media is not a deal breaker. Having an account on popular platforms makes it easy to observe what fellow writer are up to. During NaNoWriMo, even Instagram is abuzz with pictures and motivational messages from writers who are busy making their manuscript dreams come true. Author Saadia Faruqi noted on the Daybreak Press Publishing Webinar that writing is a lonely business – so establishing a community and connecting with others who are in the same field is a huge help for those long, slow segments of time in which inspiration is low or the wait time to get published is longer than you had imagined. (Glaciers melt faster!)

To get started on a social media platforms and begin sharing your work, jump in with eyes wide open! Follow writers, publishers, and other people you find interesting and see what posts they have featured on their pages on a regular basis. You’ll notice that the good social media accounts not only display their work, but also include other information like where they get their inspiration, motivational tips, fellow authors and their book promotions, references to writing tools they’ve used, and even personal snippets of their everyday lives. You can mix, match, and decide where your comfort level lies when beginning your writing journey on social media.

 

Keep in mind some simple Do’s and Don’ts to help you along!

 

Do ENGAGE with other accounts while you post on your own.

Don’t just post or re-post something without a personal comment or connection

 

Do FIND writers in your niche or locality: there are plenty of people who can help you get feedback on your work and vice versa. Along with other local writers, you can create wonderful opportunities to network and grow together in writing groups, book clubs, and discussion circles.

Don’t forget to use tags and hashtags to connect your work to larger movements – if you notice there’s a significant day or moment that fits into your writing, connect to it with a hashtag.

 

Do PROVIDE catchy images and captions to go along your posts, especially on visual platforms like Instagram

Don’t assume all posts and pictures have to be your own – there are free stock images available online that can provide high quality pics for your posts.

 

Happy writing, everyone!

 

Originally published on the Rabata Daybreak Press Blog