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From the Desk of Duncan Smith: Transitions

Post by Duncan Smith
Posted August 28, 2013 in NoveList Bookshelf, NoveList Plus

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Young Adult literature, like many of its protagonists, is going through some life changes. The September issue of RA News focused on YA lit as a "transitional" genre, one that not only often focuses on relatable stories about transitions familiar to teens (from child- to adulthood, new schools, new family structures, etc.), but is itself also changing in scope and presentation. 

Check out Nancy Milone Hill’s article on book-themed programs for some great tops on bringing YA books to life -- and teenagers into your library. Tom Reynolds reminds us that teens -- often characterized as self-absorbed -- are in fact interested in other teens too (his reading suggestions about teen life in other countries could be the start of a very inviting book display). YA librarian Molly Wetta talks "New Adult" fiction, an emerging world of books aimed readers moving into and past young adulthood (ages 18-25).

We are often youthful readers when we first discover a favorite writer. Later, we may discover the author's body of works has grown with us: for example, Judith Viorst -- beloved for her children's favorite, Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No-Good, Very Bad Day -- also wrote Necessary Losses, about the everyday disappointments and tragedies that we encounter as we age.

Older readers (even those -- like me -- teetering on the far edge of mid-life) savor YA reads as bittersweet reminders of what we faced growing up. (Peeta is my favorite Hunger Games character; like him, I know what it is to stand on the other side of a room noticing someone who doesn't notice you.)

In the end, as librarians we know that YA books are simply great stories waiting to be discovered again and again.