Since they first appeared as early as the 1940’s, Young Adult novels have featured teens on quests to save the world or overcome forces of evil. They tend to deal with larger-than-life stories in which the enemy is clear.
No-one can be expected to understand the world around them before they’ve considered their place in it. YA Characters (with flaws) all cope with life conflicts, struggles, and obstacles — enabling readers to relate to them. They wrestle with important concepts — like who they are and who they should be. Common themes include friendship, first love, relationships, and identity.
YA books offer emotional truth, with Intense emotions that often lead to attraction and Romance.
Streamlined storylines place characters in the middle of a ‘what if?’ type of situation from the first page — so readers cannot put the book down.
YA fiction is generally hopeful, with an underlying Optimism — even through the darkness.
Characters often discover hidden abilities within themselves. This helps them find an identity and strength, becoming empowered against great odds — as they realize they are more than average.
Characters tend to be resourceful and courageous as they go on huge adventures — giving readers a sense of wish fulfillment.
YA fiction can appeal to Readers of all ages — from preteen to fans in their twenties and beyond.
Many adults welcome escapist stories about revolutions or alien invasions. They are drawn to stories of empowerment. In a world based on real life tragedy, YA stories often rouse nostalgia — giving readers an opportunity to relive good memories and feelings that go with them.
Sci-Fi, Paranormal & Dystopian Connection
YA novels also appeal to adult SCI-FI fans with vivid memories of favorite pop culture icons from their youth — with references to music, movies and more.
“Just like adolescence is between childhood and adulthood, paranormal … is between human and supernatural,” says Jennifer Lynn Barnes, a young adult author, Ph.D. and cognitive science scholar. “Teens are caught between two worlds.”
“YA is always dealing with transformation, whether it be realistic or supernatural, ” dystopian author Lizzie Skurnick observes. “It shows teen life in full chaos. And that means constant change.”
Opportunity for Growth
YA fiction offers an opportunity for growth through racial and cultural diversity. People-of-color struggle to overcome obstacles wherever they occur. Increasingly, one can find more gay, lesbian and transgender characters. Its far-reaching scope also contemplates life elsewhere in the universe.
Embodiment in THE SURVIVAL TRILOGY
In Book 1, A GLEAM OF LIGHT, half-Hopi and still struggling to fit into a White Man’s World, UNA WATERS wrestles with her own definition of self . After leaving her childhood home as an Orphan — vowing to never look back, she returns to Hopiland as an adult, needing to reaquaint herself with her roots — and so the reader comes to learn about Hopi culture and mythology through her eyes.
In Book 2, THE DRAGON’S GLARE, Una discovers connections between Hopi and Asian Culture (specifically Tibet) that she never anticipated, thanks to sparked memories of Hopi prophecy. Her hidden abilities (revealed by contact with an ancient Hopi artifact in Book 1) enable her to seek help from a Higher power — to resolve a very real crisis that threatens to start World War III.
In Book 3, BEYOND THE WORLD, Una’s extraterrestrial connection empowers her to fight back against an ALIEN Conspiracy that threatens the Survival of Humanity. New and old friends join Una in this larger-than-life battle to save the world, which just-so-happens to coincide with a romantic Honeymoon Adventure! It also points to renewed hope for the future.
One reader appropriately describes THE SURVIVAL TRILOGY as an emotional journey of the heart for UNA. She makes sensible emotional decisions. As she overcomes each obstacle, readers can identify with her struggle.
The Trilogy’s cultural and racial diversity explores Alien Mythology around the world, giving it universal appeal — Book 1 Native American, Book 2 Asian American, Book 3 African American.
Like the best books for YA Readers, it can inspire Conversation about Important topics.
An added bonus for Adult readers: the Trilogy includes pop culture references to Star Trek, Star Wars, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, ET the Extraterrestrial, and more — that will spawn fond memories of why they came to love Science Fiction in the first place.