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  4. Realistic Fiction Defined
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For instance, the first book in the Last Survivors series takes place in the suburbans with one family, the second book in the city with another family, and the next book joins the characters. Read Koss, Melanie Summer Young adult novels with multiple narrative perspectives: Young people tend to enjoy realistic fiction from a particular category. In some cases, stories for younger children may include fantasy elements such as unrealistic activities or anthropomorphic characters, but have been included here based on their themes. From climbing the highest mountains to surviving tornadoes, most youth enjoy reading about adventure and survival.

Holes by Louis Sachar is an example of a book that combine adventure and survival.

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Adventure stories are often nominated for state book awards and honors voted on by youth. Peg Kehret Visit the author website. I always enjoyed the nature, but Sam Gribley convinced me that I could live in the wild. He learned about wilderness from books in the library and survived a winter in the woods.

It took 50 years, but I'm now living in the mountains! Can you think of a book that had a life-long impact on your life? Wilderness survival is a particularly popular sub-genre. Today, many young adults gravitate toward the outdoor books of Will Hobbs that include works set in the American West including Arizona, Colorado, and Alaska. If you're looking for a way to entice reluctant middle and high school readers, Will Hobbs is the place to start with books like Bearstone and The Maze Will Hobbs Visit the author website. Stories about survival at sea or on desert islands are also popular.

The Cay by Theodore Taylor is a classic work of survival at sea. The Wanderer by Sharon Creech is told through travel logs. Click example pages below center and right. Gordon Korman is known for his adventure series that involve extreme sports, adventure, survival, and spies. His books tend to be fast-paced, quick reads that are popular with reluctant readers. Gordon Korman Visit the author website. From cats and dogs to turtles and monkeys, animal stories are popular with youth of all ages.

Many animal books are written for children. However an increasing number are focused on the young adult audience.

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When war breaks out, Sophie escapes into the jungle with an infant bonobo. Series for beginning readers include the Spot books by Eric Hill and the Biscuit books by Alyssa Satin Capucilli that focus on playful puppies. Dogs are often found as central characters in works of realistic fiction. The relationship of a dog and a child is a classic storyline.

Themes often focus on the acquisition of a stray dog. Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo is a chapter book that tells the story of a young girl who cares for a stray dog. The Stray Dog by Marc Simont is an award-winning picture book about a stray dog ultimately adopted by a family. Horses are another creature that draw the interest of children and young adults. Paint the Wind by Pam Munoz Ryan is another horse story. Many works of realistic fiction incorporate comedy elements.

In some cases, these stories are so silly that they bridge the fantasy genre. Annette's Anecdotes Homer Price loved inventions and donuts, so did I. It's amazing how all a child only needs is a small connection to convince him or her to read a book. Once I started reading, I couldn't stop. Can you think of a book with a cover you couldn't resist? These humorous stories center on Ramona Quimby along with her friends and family. Young adult authors like Meg Cabot combine romance with comedic elements, while Jerry Spinelli weaves comedy into stories about family and friends.

The key to comedy for young adults is fitting it naturally into the storyline. Her books use self-deprecating humor and witty observations to seamlessly weave humor into every day life. Humorous books can be an effective way to address social issues. A Summer Remembered focuses on a city boy who spends a summer on the farm with relatives.

Click below right to read the first page. Mysteries are a popular genre of fiction for youth. While some may contain fantasy elements, most of the books fall under the category of realistic fiction. For instance, in Picture Me Gone by Meg Rosoff, the protagonist is able to sense emotions and read expressions, but these elements are simply part of the realistic mystery rather than a tool of fantasy.

Mysteries often contain secrets, hidden clues, and problems that must be solved. There is normally information that is unknown and must be explained. In works for youth, child detectives and sleuths seek out clues to solve mysteries. To solve a mystery, the young people must use their skills at deductive reasoning. Youth have enjoyed mysteries designed specific for them since the s with series like Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys. Although many adults find the characters and plots formulaic and one-dimension, young people may be comforted by the standard format and reliable storylines.

However, the Secret Seven mystery series by Enid Blyton was my favorite.

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When I read the Secret Hide-out images below by John Peterson in the late s, I became fixated on creating a secret club like the one described in this book. We invented our own secret language and names. My name was Screaming Eagle. Our headquarters was in the basement of our grandparent's house. Books really do impact the lives of kids. Can you think of a book that made you take action?

Introduce youth to mysteries through topics and approach of interest. Teens are particularly interested in mixing mysteries with suspense. I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga is an engaging thriller about the teenaged son of a serial killer. A thriller can also contain elements of social problem novels like Liar by Justine Larbalestier. Some authors focus on a particular theme. In the case of Blue Balliett , some of her mysteries incorporate the theme of artwork including works by Vermeer, Wright, and Calder. Blue Balliett Visit the author website. Frankweiler by E.

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Many young adults, particularly females, are obsessed with teen romance novels. Like other categories, these books range from high to low quality. While some librarians may find it annoying that so many teen girls are only interested in romance novels, remember that it may be possible to help youth expand their interested by connected to related sub-genre.

For instance, many of the popular vampire novels like the Twilight series are in the vampire-romance category.

How to Eat a Cupcake - Meg Donohue - Paperback

Help connect youth to historical fiction or steampunk through authors that incorporate love interests as a sub-plot. Sarah Dessen is a realistic fiction author that often uses romance in her story lines. Along for the Ride was a best selling coming-of-age story with elements of romance. Sarah Dessen Visit the author website.

Blume, Burgess, and beyond: Sexuality and the young adult novel. Romance novels for young adults are often the subject of censorship. Explicit sexual content and suggestive language are two common reasons. For instance, many of the works by Judy Blume have been censored. Sometimes these romantic elements are subplots such as the popular graphic novel Drama by Raina Telgemeier that explores a girl's experience in a school theater production. Click the image below left to read an excerpt describing one of the boys who is thinking about his feelings about boys.

School and family stories tend to focus on light topics and often contain humorous elements found in everyday life. For instance, the works by Andrew Clements focus on the everyday lives of young people dealing with school, friends, and home. The Year of Billy Miller by Kevin Henkes focuses on the school and family life of a second grader.

The book is divided into four chapters: While parents play an important role in works for children, parents play less of a role in young adult fiction.

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Instead, stories focus on the role of friends and other relationships. While some series are of high quality and written by well-known authors, others are based on standard story formulas and may be written by ghost writers hired by a publisher to mass produce books. Regardless of the quality, young people enjoy series books. Youth feel like they get to know the characters and feel comfortable with the situations and outcomes. Andrew Clements Visit the author website. Although set in a school environment, Wonder by R.

Palacio is much more than a traditional book about school, friends, and family. Auggie Pullman was born with a facial deformity and has been home-schooled. The story focuses on his experiences entering fifth grade and is told through the different perspectives of family members and classmates. Think about how a book like Wonder fits into the friends, family, and school category.

An increasingly number of authors are aiming at the reluctant reader. They seek ways to immerse youth in reading. Dan Gutman Visit the author website. Many books focus on the challenges facing their characters. Hearing and vision loss, mobility issues, illness, and abuse are just a few of the possibilities. These social problem novels often associated with issues related to class, race, or gender prejudices.

Many social novels deal with issues of friends and family incorporating themes related to death, mental illness, divorce, peer pressure, sibling rivalry, and teen pregnancy. This very short novel is a excellent way to encourage male teens to read social problems novels. Click the page below right to read an excerpt. This term was coined in the late s to identify works like The Outsiders by S. Hinton and The Pigman by Paul Zindel. Hinton was an year old woman when she wrote The Outsiders. Do you agree or disagree with her position and evidence?

In many social novels, youth learn about the consequences of their behavior. However, he and his friend Tony decide to go on a forbidden adventure that ends in tragedy. Adventure stories that involve challenging authority and dealing with consequences are popular with reluctant readers and are a good way to introduce youth to social problem novels. Click the page below right to read an except. In these books, readers see the protagonist mature from youth into adulthood.

In Kinda Like Brothers by Coe Booth, a middle-school aged boy living in the inner-city deals with a new foster child entering the family. Laurie Halse Anderson is well-known for her social problem novels. Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson tells the story of rape and recovery. Skim Tannert-Smith, Barbara Children's Literature Association Quarterly, 35 40 , Laurie Halse Anderson Visit the author website. Annette's Anecdotes Having begun my library career working with children in elementary school libraries, I was familiar with social problem books for children such as On My Honor by Marion Dane Bauer.

However I wasn't really "up" on what was happening with young adult social problem novels. It wasn't until I read Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson that I realized the importance of these novels in the lives of teens. During the s, young adult social novels began to truly immerse readers in the very realistic, multi-dimensional world of teens. These books help teens navigate the messy, all-too-common, real-world dilemmas of young adulthood.

Laurie Halse Anderson was responsible for turning me into a young adult novel reader. What author has impacted your thinking about young adult novels? Remember that some social problem novels can be quite disturbing for some youth. For instance, Wringer by Jerry Spinelli explores the issue of animal abuse and hunting. Reading about this topic could be traumatic for an animal lover.

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Seek out books to help youth understand those people with disabilities and challenges in their lives. For instance, Stuck in Neutral by Terry Trueman focuses on a teenager with severe cerebral palsy and Rules by Cynthia Lord explores life with an autistic brother. Over the past decade, social problem novels have shifted from one dimensional, formulaic works to edgier stories that don't always take the "moral high ground". The protagonists have become more complex and the plots more real. Looking for Alaska by John Green deals with sexually explicit situations, substance abuse, and suicide in a realistic way that appeals to young adults.

War is a common plot in books for young adults. Sometimes the story focuses on the impact of war on a soldier, while in other cases the focus in on the family of soldiers or life in a war-torn country. Works of realistic fiction often reflect the issues of the times they were written. During the past decade, immigration issues have come to the forefront of social issues discussions. Read Kieran, Davis Children's Literature Association Quarterly, 37 1 , OR Read Cummins, Amy Like animal stories, sports stories have a very particular audience.

While some youth enjoy a focus on the sports elements, others prefer to read about the challenges of teamwork and peer interaction. According to Tunnell , ,. Game-focused books are interested in the score and who wins the game. The major question always centers on victory: Matt Christopher was well-known for his sport books for youth. Although he died over a decade ago, his legacy continues through the work of his sons Duane and Dale who work with ghost writers to publish books under the name Matt Christopher.

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  8. Matt Christopher Visit the author website. Tim Green is another author known for his sports book for youth, particularly in the areas of baseball and football. Mike Lupica has gained popularity for his books that go beyond the playing field. His problem-focused books incorporate sports but also feature well-developed characters. Mike Lupica Visit the author website.

    Increasingly, sports books are extending their themes to bullying, drug abuse, and other social issues themes. Boost by Kathy Mackel focuses on a female basketball player dealing with issues related to a strict exercise and diet regime. The book provides a realistic look at the controversy surrounding steroid use.

    Chris Crutcher is known for his social problem books that often incorporate some aspect of athletics. His books are often challenged because they focus on teens coping with issues beyond the sports field. His latest book Period 8 is a psychological thriller that incorporates ethics and athletics. Her anger seeped into me — a mark of how well crafted these characters and stories are by Cejka. It is through the teasing out of the facts from the suspect, known as Mad Marji, that the reader is taken on a journey, a not quite so conventional mystery, but one that uses a very important aspect of a crime novel or show — and in fact, one that left me wanting to know more about what happened once I had completed the story, not just about Mad Marji, but about the killer set free my the legal system.

    Again, I was enthralled by the story. Another triumph from Cejka. Now on her way to Phoenix to take down a bogus alibi that will lock up a not so innocent man she has to deal with nosy passengers, a not-so-funny partner, and a case file involving murder by vegetable. If only she could get an in-flight drink but someone with a secret is standing in her way.

    The second of the Meg Brown Short Mysteries this is a lean, mean, and thoroughly fun 13 pager at words for all those horrible waiting at the bus stop, sitting on the train moments when you just need a good quick whodunit to pull you through. Cejka has done it again. This time, the murder scene is on a plane, up in the clouds. But it is done in such a way that it makes sense with the story and characters Again, I loved the succinct and easy to read story, because it left me wanting more in exactly the same way a good novel can. Though Meg is determined to avoid nosy passengers, and small talk, she is sucked into discovering who killed a passenger with a vegetable, while on her way to Phoenix for a take down.

    I was on the edge of my seat with laughter as I read this tasty treat. I felt her reluctance and hatred to fly as though it was my own hatred and fear of spiders trying to attack me in the shower, her frustration at nosy passengers and her confusion at why someone would use a vegetable to kill someone and how — I shared this confusion, but enjoyed it: Allegiance, book two of the Betrothed series Author: July 1st, Book Synopsis: The second book in the Betrothed Series.

    Having returned home, Marla seems to quickly forget her Faery Prince, Leif… And strangely, she starts seeing her best friend Jack in a different way…. Tensions mount within this doomed love triangle after Leif, unwilling to part with his betrothed, strikes a deal with his father, the fiery King Telophy, to travel to Earth to win Marla back.

    Shifting shadows, bonds of blood, and with their lives in danger … Marla is conflicted, relying on both Leif and Jack for support. The mystery of what happened to her parents remains, perhaps a good thing, to keep readers wanting to know more. Yet trouble brews in more ways than one. If anything, it enriched the plot and series, giving readers something more. A threat that they could fear — a powerful emotion felt by those in the book against these creatures. I enjoyed the darker side to the book, perhaps a little more than the romance, however, that was lovely too, and done very well.

    This book is an easy read, though perhaps one that went too quickly for me and almost made me miss my train stop — as many of the books I am reading at the moment are capable of doing. This is a good thing, because I love any book that can take me into a place completely away from where I am and that has the potential for ultimate travel distraction. This book is a good read for anyone after a good fantasy romance with a little more zing to it.

    Mac, Cad, Lycon and Hero return to the ruins of Troy to conf ront disaster. Once again the Herdsmen of Ida are caught in unfolding legend — facing monsters, murderers and the gods at war, in a desperate attempt to challenge what the fates have decreed. Their journey brings them into contact with Medea, a figure from Greek mythology I am quite familiar with, and was immediately fascinated by her appearance, yet alarm bells started ringing as I knew her myth cycle…this is the witch who, in revenge for her husband, Jason, abandoning her and taking up with another princess, a revenge which led her to unspeakable acts that are described in the book and in all her myth cycles.

    Gentill has definitely done her research here with the ancient sources and any other sources. In terms of the Medea myth cycle, she has seamlessly combined each aspect of the myth cycle explored by different ancient texts together to explore her character. Her involvement with the Herdsmen does not last the entire novel, but enough for her to cause enough havoc and bring the Erinyes after Machaon for much of the book. The climax rises with the decision of the fates and the pantheon — too many spoilers to give away here for potential readers, so all I will say that it was a great climax and finale.

    Yet another spectacular book from Sulari, and I look forward to many more in the future. A definite fan here. The world of Detective Megan Brown of Minneapolis has become one that I love and look forward to reading more on with each passing book. Written by a good friend I met through an online writing group, Joshua L Cejka, the series begins with a short story entitled, The Short Man. Someone is paying their parking tickets the wrong way — by offing the Parking Enforcement Officers around a small college. Minneapolis Homicide Detective Meg Brown needs to know who it is and fast — before he decides to do worse.

    From the first to the last page, I was engrossed in the case of the deadly parking ticket. Each page revealed a new plot twist to keep readers on their toes, and the humour infused into Meg and her partner, Riggins flew in delight from the page. As I read, the characters jumped off the page and sat beside me whilst I read, the crime unfolding before my eyes.

    Though only nineteen pages, Cejka includes enough plot twists and turns to keep one guessing as they might in any other crime novel or television show. I highly recommend this series to anyone who enjoys a good whodunnit injected with humour and sometimes strange yet fascinating cases…much like Castle. The tales of a book and music nerd who floats between Australia, Sweden and Britain. Skip to content The Book Muse Books, reading and writing.

    This book is available through Amazon