Tuesday, December 16, 2014
I love Realistic Fiction!
This month I want to take a look at something totally different. Think about this… YA books can actually save lives! Yes, this is an ode to Realistic Fiction that shows us teen tragedy and hard luck circumstances. Whether or not you are someone with excellent grades and no drug record, chances are you know of someone who has struggled in school, struggled with friends and grades, probably smoked, maybe they experimented, maybe they even took risks. And if you didn’t know someone in real life, you knew a fictional character that experienced all of that, and it opened your eyes to hardships in life. That’s right, YA books teach us a lot and they say to us “You’re not alone,” you could also say that YA books mirror reality. And it’s because of this terrifyingly perfect, realistic depiction of teen tragedy that some of the best realistic YA books have been banned.
Realistic Fiction is not only for escapism, but also a place of comfort, a home for those who feel they have nowhere to turn, that no one understands. Many YA authors are successful because their readers respond to realistic depictions of teen issues, such as death, sickness, abuse, or drugs. These kinds of stories aren’t a one-size-fits-all teens, but it can provide a powerful presence for the teens that have experienced some of life’s more difficult events.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 48% of teen deaths are caused by unintentional injuries, and 73% of those injuries were from vehicle accidents. 11% of deaths are from suicide, and 6% are from cancer. Through realistic fiction, YA literature allows readers to sympathize with the girl or boy in the back of the classroom, silent and misunderstood, holing up their problems and blaming themselves for sad events that have happened to them. If we can learn about hardship and suffering through a book, then maybe we can begin to understand what it’s like for those that have difficult lives.
Here are a few YA books that respect the intelligence of the reader, move the reader, and accurately portray teen tragedy.
Love Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaira - When Laurel starts writing letters to dead people for a school assignment she begins to spill about her sister's mysterious death, her mother's departure.
Looking for Alaska by John Green - Sixteen-year-old Miles' first year at a private school in Alabama is defined by the search for answers about life and death after a fatal car crash.
The Tragedy Paper by Elizabeth LaBan - Duncan gets wrapped up in the tragic tale of Tim Macbeth, a former student who had a clandestine relationship with the wrong girl, and his own ill-fated romance with Daisy.
Where Things Come Back by John Corey Whaley - Cullen's summer is marked by his cousin's death by overdose and his younger brother's sudden disappearance.
Stolen by Lucy Christopher - Sixteen-year-old Gemma is abducted while on vacation with her parents and taken to the Australian outback, where she soon realizes that escape attempts are futile.
Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher - high school student Clay Jenkins receives thirteen cassette tapes recorded from his friend Hannah, who committed suicide, he spends a bewildering and heartbreaking night recounting the events leading up to her death.
Waiting for Normal by Leslie Connor - Twelve-year-old Addie tries to cope with her mother's erratic behavior when she and her mother go to live in a small trailer by the railroad tracks
Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson - A traumatic event near the end of the summer has a devastating effect on Melinda's freshman year in high school.
I Am the Messenger by Markus Zusak - Ed Kennedy begins receiving mysterious messages that direct him to addresses where people need help, and he begins getting over his lifelong feeling of worthlessness.
The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chobosky - A tale of adolescence whose hero is Charlie, a high school freshman in Pennsylvania. The novel follows Charlie as he is introduced to love, literature and friendships.
The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton - The struggle of three brothers to stay together after their parent's death and their quest for identity among the conflicting values of their adolescent society.
Happy to Reading to You!