Critical Explorations of Young Adult Literature: Identifying and Critiquing the Canon, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Critical Explorations of Young Adult Literature

Identifying and Critiquing the Canon, 1st Edition

Edited by Victor Malo-Juvera, Crag Hill


272 pages

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pub: 2019-12-05
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Recognizing the determination of a canon as an ongoing process of discussion and debate, which helps us to better understand the concept of meaningful and important literature, this edited collection turns a critical spotlight on young adult literature (YAL) to explore some of the most read, taught, and discussed books of our time.

By considering the unique criteria which might underpin the classification of a YAL canon, this text raises critical questions of what it means to define canonicity and designate certain books as belonging to the YAL canon. Moving beyond ideas of what is taught or featured in textbooks, the volume emphasizes the role of adolescents’ choice, the influence of popular culture, and above all the multiplicity of ways in which literature might be interpreted and reflected in the lives of young readers. Chapters examine an array of texts through varied critical lenses, offer detailed literary analyses and divergent interpretations, and consider how themes might be explored in pedagogical contexts. By articulating the ways in which teachers and young readers may have traditionally interpreted YAL, this volume will extend debate on canonicity and counter dominant narratives that posit YAL texts as undeserving of canonical status.

This text will be of great interest to graduate and postgraduate students, academics, professionals, and libraries in the field of young adult literature, fiction literacy, children’s literacy and feminist studies.

Table of Contents


1. The Young Adult Canon: A Literary Solar System

Victor Malo-Juvera and Crag Hill

Section I: The Center of the Canon

2. The Giver in Our Midst: Grounding Dystopia as Total Institutions

Michael Macaluso, Katie Macaluso, and Darby Evans

3. “It’s Easier not to Say Anything”: Speak through the Lens of Strategic Formalism

Cori McKenzie

4. “Do You See a [Hu]man Sitting Here?”: Signifying in Monster

KaaVonia Hinton

5. "Lost, Squared": Reservation Realism and the Borderless Imaginary

Angela Sparks

Section II: Seminal Works

6. From Maven to Mentor: The Archetypal Coaches of The Contender

Luke Rodesiler and Mark Lewis

7. “Peace at Any Price”: A Marxist Reading of The Chocolate War

William C. Sewell

8. Complex Bodies, Complex Decisions: Female Sexuality in Judy Blume’s Forever…

Julianna E. Lopez Kershen

9. Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry: Disrupting the “All-White World of Children’s Books”

Chris Crowe and Jace Brown

10. More than Esperanza: Revisiting Sandra Cisneros’s The House on Mango Street

Sonia Alejandra Rodríguez

11. Dominating Gender: Female-Controlled, Decolonizing Power and The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle

Rachel L. Carazo

Section III: Contemporaries

12. "The Earth is Speaking to Us": An Ecocritical Approach to Stargirl

Merrilyne Lundahl

13. Parties, Pranks, and Privilege: Reading Looking for Alaska through the Lens of Critical Whiteness

Brandon Sams and Ashley Boyd

14. Attending to Cultural Models in Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis

Sean Connors

15. “So what am I supposed to do now?”: Border Crossing in American Born Chinese

Lisa Scherff

16. The Literacy Thief: A New Literacy Studies Analysis of The Book Thief

Mary McCulley

About the Editors

Victor Malo-Juvera is Associate Professor of English education at the University of North Carolina Wilmington, USA.

Crag Hill is Associate Professor of English education at the University of Oklahoma, USA.

About the Series

Routledge Research in Education

This series aims to present the latest research from right across the field of education. It is not confined to any particular area or school of thought and seeks to provide coverage of a broad range of topics, theories and issues from around the world.

Please send inquiries or proposals for this series to one of the following:

Emilie Coin: [email protected] – Editor, UK, Europe, Africa, and the Middle East

Elsbeth Wright: [email protected] – Editor, North & South America

Vilija Stephens: [email protected] – Editor, Australia & New Zealand

Katie Peace: [email protected] – Publisher, Asia


Learn more…

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