We welcome Sharon Kane back to YA Wednesday today! Dr. Kane is a professor in the School of Education at the State University of New York at Oswego. She is the author of Literacy and Learning in the Content Areas: Enhancing Knowledge in the Disciplines (2019, Routledge) and Integrating Literature in the Disciplines (2020, Routledge). A new book, Teaching and Reading New Adult Literature in High School and College (2023, Routledge).
One of the major stresses of senior year for many is the college application process, followed by the period of hoping for acceptance while fearing rejection. We can introduce our students to literary friends who have been through this scenario. Here are a few.
I devote one chapter of my book to NA literature dealing with changing relationships during the late teen years and the twenties. One text set offers books involving fake dating (which can usually lead to deeper reflection on what can make romantic relationships authentic, healthy, and mutually satisfying). Another features literature about how family dynamics change when New Adults leave home for college or new locations. One book that fits both lists is Alexandria Bellefleur’s Written in the Stars (2020). Elle, who has a job as a horoscope reader/writer and astrology-related app creator, is fake-dating Darcy, referred to by Elle’s mother as the actuary. It seems to Elle that her mother reduces everyone to their profession, and she imagines that her mother must think of her as Elle, the disappointment. The novel explores parental pressures and expectations while simultaneously showing two young women who learn to appreciate each other’s strengths and to love without judgment.
There are many more examples of New Adult literature that can be matched with readers in their teens and twenties who are looking for pleasure reading and/or books that will help them stretch, navigate difficult situations, find purpose, explore identities, and find support as they and their circumstances evolve. You can find more book talks in my YAWednesday post of March 30, 2022, The Value of the Youth Lens when Reading YA. And great new NA books are being published all the time, such as Anna-Marie McLemore’s Self-Made Boys: A Great Gatsby Remix (2022). The Author’s Note explains, “I wanted to write Jay Gatsby as a transgender young man making an increasingly infamous name for himself in 1920s New York…. I wanted to write Daisy as a Latina lesbian debutante who passes as white and straight …. I wanted to write Nick Carraway as a Mexican American transgender boy who falls in love with the mysterious boy next door ….” (unpaged).
New Adult literature is a category that will continue to grow. We readers, whether teachers, librarians, students, recent graduates, or others, can continue to grow too, as we revel in the great books inviting us into the world of the New Adult.
Bellefleur, Alexandria. (2020). Written in the Stars. Avon.
Callender, Kacen. (2020). Felix Ever After. Balzer + Bray.
Gilbert, Kelly Loy. (2021). When We Were Infinite. Simon & Schuster.
Gregorio, I.W. (2021). This Is my Brain in Love. Little, Brown.
Iloh, Candice. (2021). Every Body Looking. Dutton Books.
Johnson, Leah. (2021). You Should See me in a Crown. Push.
Kane, Sharon. (2023). Teaching and Reading New Adult Literature in High School and College. Routledge.
LaCour, Nina. (2019). We Are Okay. Penguin Books.
Lee, Kristen R. (2022). Required Reading for the Disenfranchised Freshman. Crown Books.
Mansansala, Mia P. (2021). Arsenic and Adobo. Berkley.
McLemore, Anna-Marie. (2022). Self-made Boys: A Great Gatsby Remix. Feiwel & Friends.
Philippe, Ben. (2022). Charming as a Verb. Balzer + Bray.
Rowell, Rainbow. (2013). Fangirl. Saint Martin’s Griffin.
Zevin, Gabrielle. (2022). Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow. Knopf.