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The influence of se hinton and judy blume on the genre of adolescent literature

A Longtime Editor Surveys the Field The most significant development in publishing in the last forty years is the emergence of a vibrant young adult literature.


In the long run, this is far more important than the digital revolution. There is now a vast reading public of all ages who know what the genre has to offer and who look to it when they want something good to read. That reading public for young adult books is growing and will keep growing, and publishers—large and small, mainstream and nontraditional—are committing enormous resources to meet its needs.

When I started in publishing forty years ago, YA literature was in its infancy. These new books were very exciting compared with the Happy Hollisters, the Hardy Boys, and other generally rose-tinted stories about children and young adults that had prevailed in the marketplace for decades. But at the time, the reception of the field by authors, agents, editors, and reviewers—pretty much everyone involved—was mixed.

One example will suffice: The inauguration of the now venerable Michael L. Printz Award by the American Library Association in 2000 for books published in 1999 was a milestone in the evolution of the genre.

Today, two generations later, YA is grown up. Such boundary breaking is not only great for readers; it anticipates the impact the digital revolution is having on publishing, including YA literature. But tracking the ups and downs of the publishing business will more likely result in whiplash than insight.

Digital technology will not be generally embraced by teens until a generation has been raised with easy and ready access to the technology. For the youngest readers, only urban, affluent children can be said to have ready access now. And parental influence, conservative by nature, will always be a factor. Meanwhile, as a nontraditional publisher primarily of high-quality young adult novels, I am discouraged by the predominance of factory-like imprints that crank out whatever genre is popular at the moment.

Still, such exploitation has been, is, and always will be the way of business. The success of Blume, Cormier et al.

  • It was a novel largely for girls about first love;
  • This pin was discovered by emmanuelle perryman discover and save your own pins on pinterest;
  • Authors like John Green write about the best and worst of adolescence fearlessly and honestly, building a trust within readers, Peterson said.

Around the edges of this inevitable deluge, though, major imprints are publishing brilliant books. Two striking examples this fall are M. Other major trade imprints offer gems as well—go look!

In addition, the lists of nontraditional publishers overflow with experimentation and innovation. Just one example from namelos, my own imprint: Nelson—a Coretta Scott King and Newbery honoree, three-time National Book Award finalist, and Connecticut poet laureate—sets the scene for each poem with a prose description, providing a personal vision of that lost community.

The influence of se hinton and judy blume on the genre of adolescent literature

For readers and reviewers! Young adults are networked in ways that open up enormous opportunities for publishers and writers to find out what kids are reading. Word of mouth has always been the gold standard for book promotion, and social media—Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, Vine—are nothing more than technologically enabled word of mouth.

Teens own that space. Which brings me to some good news for YA authors. The largest publishers remain the best channel to the book-buying public, but they can only publish titles that sell at sufficiently high levels to support their economic goals.

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This is fine for established authors who write strong-selling books. But thanks to digital and print-on-demand technology, there are now many more ways to publish your books, and the disdain that once shadowed nontraditional venues is much diminished.

Self-publishing, in print and Internet-based, is often the first step in building a successful publishing career. With low entry costs, expanding distribution opportunities, and potential access to more readers than ever before, these are exciting times for publishing.

The impact on the publishing and bookselling businesses may not be pretty, but consumer demand is inexorable. Readers love YA books; they also want less expensive content fast. The economies that result from eliminating the costs of paper, printing, and binding, combined with instantaneous digital distribution, are impossible to ignore. New readers—as always, more sophisticated than any previous generation of readers—will soon have more or less immediate access to a vast array of content in whatever format they prefer.

Traditional publishing conglomerates still control their gates, but as in all revolutions, the YA walls are coming down.