1st Edition

The Critical Merits of Young Adult Literature Coming of Age

Edited By Crag Hill Copyright 2014
    220 Pages
    by Routledge

    218 Pages
    by Routledge

    This examination of the literary effectiveness of young adult literature from a critical, research-oriented perspective answers two key questions asked by many teachers and scholars in the field: Does young adult literature stand up on its own as literature? Is it worthy of close study?

    The treatment is both conceptual and pragmatic. Each chapter discusses a topical text set of YA novels in a conceptual framework—how these novels contribute to or deconstruct conventional wisdom about key topics from identity formation to awareness of world issues, while also providing a springboard in secondary and college classrooms for critical discussion of these novels. Uncloaking many of the issues that have been essentially invisible in discussions of YA literature, these essays can then guide the design of curriculum through which adolescent readers hone the necessary skills to unpack the ideologies embedded in YA narratives. The annotated bibliography provides supplementary articles and books germane to all the issues discussed. Closing "End Points" highlight and reinforce cross-cutting themes throughout the book and tie the essays together.

    Foreword: Coming of Age with Young Adult Literature through Critical Analysis, Steve Bickmore



    Chapter One: Introduction: Young Adult Literature and Scholarship Come of Age, Crag Hill

    Chapter Two: More Than a ‘Time of Storm and Stress’: The Complex Depiction of Adolescent Identity in Contemporary Young Adult Novels, Janet Alsup

    Chapter Three: Sexuality as Risk and Resistance in Young Adult Literature, Mark Lewis & Sybil Durand

    Chapter Four: Hungry Like the Wolf: Gender Non-conformity in YAL, sj Miller

    Chapter Five: 'The Worst Form of Violence': Unpacking Portrayals of Poverty in Young Adult Novels, Janine Darragh & Crag Hill

    Chapter Six: ‘I was carrying the burden of my race’: Reading Matters of Race and Hope in YA Literature by Walter Dean Myers and Sherman Alexie, KaaVonia Hinton & Rodrigo Joseph Rodriguez

    Chapter Seven: Creating an Eco-warrior: Wilderness and Identity in the Dystopian World of Scott Westerfeld’s Uglies Series, Christopher Arigo

    Chapter Eight: The Emigrant, Immigrant and Trafficked Experiences of Adolescents: Young Adult Literature as Window and Mirror, Linda T. Parsons & Angela Rietschlin

    Chapter Nine: Annotated Bibliography, Laura Powers

    End Points: Crag Hill

    List of Contributors


    Crag Hill is Assistant Professor of English Education at the University of Oklahoma, USA.

    "…. Addressing themes and literary devices central to the success of the best YA literature, the collected essays easily show why such works are popular with teens and worthy of rigorous examination. … It is the meticulously researched analyses in the chapters that follow that readers will truly appreciate. Hill carefully chose essays that examine the theoretical foundations of young adult literature and that will foster meaningful discussion in the classroom about the legitimacy of the texts. … this volume is powerful ammunition for a battle that should have been won long ago. Summing Up: Essential. All readers." - D.C. Greenwood, Albright College, in CHOICE, November 2014 

    "…. a welcome addition to the expanding knowledge base that is growing as young adult literature is indeed coming of age." - Judith A. Hayn, University of Arkansas at Little Rock, USA

    "…. a landmark work that demonstrates that YA literature is worthy of serious literary criticism, that it is, indeed, literature. The authors in this collection do not shy away from complex readings; instead they forge new ground. Each chapter serves as a model and a theoretical foundation for other scholars to stand on as the field of YA literature moves forward." - Steven T. Bickmore, Co-Editor of The ALAN Review, From the Foreword