Monday, December 23, 2013

Ever Wondered How #YA Novels Have Changed Through the Years?

From the blog of Jennifer R. Hubbard 

Some History of YA Novels

I'm mystified when people say that young-adult novels are a new thing, that they weren't around even a decade or two ago. They've been around much longer than that. In fact, many of the YA books I'm going to discuss here were written before I was even born.

For purposes of this discussion, I'm excluding books that were originally written for adults but later became high-school classics (like The Catcher in the Rye and Lord of the Flies), and books that featured teen characters but were clearly for younger readers (like the Nancy Drew books), and books that were stocked in the adult section when they first came out but would go in the YA section now (like Forever ... and It's OK If You Don't Love Me). I'm talking about books that were absolutely aimed at teens, that were grouped together in the children's or teens' section in bookstores and libraries, and were sold in school book clubs.

They've changed over the years, of course. The typical YA of the 1960s-1980s was short (closer to 200 pages than the 350 pages of our current era). Contemporary realism dominated the market. You could find a smattering of historical fiction, and there were mysteries and science fiction and romances. But there were, by far, fewer fantasy and paranormal novels than there are now.

Also, while today's books tend to be more explicit when dealing with edgy material, tough subjects were not off limits even 40 or 50 years ago. Here are a few examples to illustrate that this genre has been thriving for much longer than people might think: (Connect with Jennifer's blog here)

Bestselling Books: Until It Hurts to StopThe Secret YearTry Not to Breathe

Jennifer R. Hubbard lives in the Philadelphia area. She is a hiker, a chocolate lover, and a night person who believes that mornings were meant to be slept through. Her short fiction has appeared in literary magazines. Her published books include these contemporary young-adult novels published by Viking/Penguin:
THE SECRET YEAR: After his secret girlfriend's death, Colt finds the notebook she left behind, but he is unprepared for the truths he discovers about their intense relationship.
TRY NOT TO BREATHE: After his suicide attempt, Ryan struggles with guilty secrets and befriends a girl who's visiting psychics to try to reach her dead father.
UNTIL IT HURTS TO STOP: Just when Maggie starts believing she can outgrow her history as the local outcast, the girl who once bullied her returns to town.
You can visit Jennifer's website at or follow her on Twitter @JennRHubbard.

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