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Reviewed by Emily-Jane Hills Orford for Readers' Favorite
What makes a really good young adult novel? Is it the characters? The setting? The plot? The conflict? All of these things, but perhaps many would answer, without a doubt, that the most important element in young adult fiction is the characters. Readers want characters they can relate to, characters who have the same struggles, same successes and failures that they have, characters that talk and think like they do. Who reads these young adult novels? Well, young adults, of course, but adults also read them. Young adult literature is a popular choice for readers thirteen and older. Young adults want to read about role models and believable, yet crazy high school situations; adults want to relive their youth and share a chuckle or two about the things they remember from their teenage/coming-of-age years. With such a vast span of age groups interested in these young adult novels, it’s imperative that the writing is solid, compelling and age-appropriate. So how does one become a successful young adult writer?
In order to write for this audience, the writer must have a firm understanding of the age group and what works/ what doesn’t work. As a potential young adult writer, you need to read young adult literature, study young adults intently and, most important, learn some of the do’s and don’ts. To help you along, there is a vital encyclopedia: Janet Schrader-Post and Elizabeth Fortin-Hinds’ The Young Adult Writer’s Journey: An Encyclopedia for YA Writers is exactly what the title suggests. It is an in-depth look at the market and how to write effectively for this market. The logical, step-by-step process of creating solid, believable characters, who look, talk and think like young adults, plausible plots and settings that would appeal to young adult readers, is well laid out, complete with helpful examples from some of the big names in young adult literature, like J.K. Rowling. The two authors, well versed in the art of writing, have created a concise and engagingly useful ‘how to’ book that is not only well laid out, but interesting as well, leading the would-be author from the beginning story idea to the published novel and the marketing skills essential for its success. This is a must-have for all writers, particularly those intent on writing for the young adult market.