One of the questions that comes up frequently when I speak with librarians, teachers, and editors has to do with "young adult" (YA) literature. Technically, YA is for ages 12 and up. Chris Crutcher, Francesca Lia Block, Scott Westerfeld, Ellen Hopkins, Tamora Pierce, Stephenie Meyer, and S.E. Hinton are all considered YA novelists.
But who is reading these books?
Are the readers 10 or 16 or 24? Is it feasible to publish novels for older high school students -- and call them YA? Or are sophomores reading adult books for pleasure?
If you're a teenager interested in taking this poll, email me. (I'll send you the poll as a .doc file -- you can copy it to your "reply" screen and send it back, filled in.)
Thanks in advance.
If you're an author yourself, check out Teen Voices, TeenLit, TeenInk, Happening Now! Everywhere, Smart Writers/Young Writers, and Figment, which are especially for teenaged writers; also, Cicada, a literary magazine from the publishers of Cricket, Frodo's Notebook, and Merlyn's Pen. (Note: Don't ask me if I'll read/edit/publish your novel. I'll just send you to these sites instead.)
If you write science fiction, fantasy, or horror, think about applying for the Alpha Workshop, which takes place every July in Pittsburgh.
The Internet Public Library has an excellent collection of links specifically targeted to you (yes, you, there in the back).
For a good book recommendation, try my pal Jen Hubert Swan's Reading Rants!
And if you're in the Bay Area, you can participate in Books Inc.'s great initiative, Not Your Mother's Book Club. (My own mother never belonged to a book club. Maybe yours does.)
You'll probably find the homepages of a few of your favorite authors here (A-C), here (D-F), here (G-J), here (K-O), here (P-S), or here (T-Z).
You can buy and read Smack, and you can hear about the real thing, too.
See the BFYA lists (also known as the American Library Association's Best Fiction for Young Adults).
And here's the official website for the Michael L. Printz Award, an award that some call the "YA Newbery."
A few random special-interest magazines: Shameless, "for girls who get it"; xy, for gay (male) teens; Mogenic, for gay and lesbian teens.
I don't think I need say anything more than the word "Columbine" to start a discussion. And the most interesting discussion starts here, at Slashdot.
Raven Days is, in some ways, even more painful to read than the above. (Believe me, I know.)
If you can relate to the above, you will also relate to Paul Graham's "Why Nerds are Unpopular."
And here are a few specifically teen-oriented sites and imprints: Firebird (full disclosure: this is my imprint); Penguin Teens; Harper's HarperTeen; Houghton Mifflin's Graphia; Little, Brown's Teen Reads; Random House's Teens@Random; Scholastic's this is teen; Simon & Schuster's Teen Books Online; and TeenReads.
If you want to weigh in with your own opinions, you could try See Me 4 Books or cool-reads. Where are the similar non-corporate American sites? Well, here are two: The LYRE Review and Genrefluent.
The very useful and controversial Scarleteen (thanks to Hanne and Elise for this one).
Finally: meet the Women With a Cause, from St. Louis, MO.
Back to home.