Saturday, November 7, 2015

A Guide to Young Adult Fiction Part One: Contemporary Realistic Fiction

I've talked about young adult fiction so much on this blog that I thought it was time I do a series of posts on recommendations based on genre. If you're new to reading young adult books, you might find this especially helpful. I thought I would kick the series off with my favorite genre, and the genre that might be the easiest for people to get into: contemporary realistic fiction.

What is contemporary realistic fiction? Author Sara Zarr defines it this way, as found on the Young Adult Library Services Association blog The Hub: "A story that takes place more or less in the present in which nothing happens that could not feasibly happen in our world and nothing occurs that might violate the time-space continuum."

While I do sometimes enjoy a good horror story or mystery, and in rare cases, a good fantasy story, I'm drawn to contemporary realistic fiction more than any other genre. It's easier to relate to, which is important to me, and it offers so many possibilities in the stories that can be told.

If you're new to young adult fiction, you might want to start with a lighter contemporary realistic novel.

Something Real by Heather Demetrios
Open Road Summer by Emery Lord
Since You've Been Gone by Morgan Matson
Anna and the French Kiss and Lola and the Boy Next Door, both by Stephanie Perkins

If you're looking for something a little more serious, darker, or literary, there are some great options.

Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
Love Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaira
Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen
Making Pretty by Corey Ann Haydu
I'll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson
The Summer of Chasing Mermaids by Sarah Ockler
The Beginning of Everything by Robyn Schneider

Lately, I've found myself wanting to read novels about older teens, in particular, teens who are transitioning from high school to college, but I want stories that don't feel like new adult books. If you want a young adult book that feels more grown up without being new adult, here are some books to try.

City Love by Susane Colasanti
Just One Day by Gayle Forman
Golden by Jessi Kirby
Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins
Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
Roomies by Sara Zarr and Tara Altebrando

The next post in this series will focus on YA fantasy. If you have any suggestions for that list, let me know in the comments!

No comments: