Young Adult Fiction

Literary Perspective - Searching for Individuality

Searching for Identity (E. Hess)
Credit: E. Hess
(Wikimedia Commons)

Searching for Individuality

The most difficult time in an adolescent’s life is finding a sense of identity in a world governed by overwhelming adult influence. A teenager feels pressure from parents and teachers to establish a “self” not far from the norm established by family and school. If Dad loves football, his son is expected to enjoy the sport. If Mom is a nurse, her daughter is encouraged to join the profession with enthusiasm.

This is not the pattern that life usually takes. Self-discovery often leads to loss of approval from an authority figure, followed by rebellion and impulsive mistakes. The damage done—sometimes permanent—destroys relationships and even lives.

Childhood impressions are indelible ink on the canvas of the mind. The protagonist acts on past experiences and aspires to higher goals or remains within the confining social structure defined in youth. A teen emerges from a struggling, often poor background to form a conclusion, make a transition, or set a course of action.

A good story establishes a sense of identity within the developing mind of a young adult. Ideally, this realization leads to social integration, emotional stability, and finally, maturity.

ForeWord Review - Trail of the Dead

Trail of the Dead (Cover)

Native American folklore infuses this post-apocalyptic story with mysticism and culture. Rich with symbolism, this literary examination of primal instinct and human need is a study of survival. Nestled within these carefully wrought pages are the seeds of profound courage, stamina, and drive, with a strong feminist slant on womanhood.

ForeWord Review - Principium

Principium (Cover)

This somewhat typical tale of persecution and New Age witchcraft crosses into the monster-creature zone. Infused with descriptions of psychic phenomena, prophetic dreams, and subliminal persuasion, Lamarre’s intriguing novel fortifies the power of every woman, promoting her to goddess status. Though written presumably for entertainment only, symbolic imagery and situational statements abound in this playful, young adult romp.

ForeWord Review - College Freshman 101

College Freshmen 101 (Cover)

Disillusionment and discouragement threaten to derail a young woman’s aspirations in her first year of college. An African American student on a predominantly white campus feels marginalized and forced to immerse herself in the work of professors extolling the virtues of literary greats far removed from twenty-first-century concerns. An emerging feminist intent on making her own mark in the competitive writing profession, this eighteen-year-old refuses to accept the financial and social barriers that confront her.

ForeWord Review - The Illuminated Forest

The Illuminated Forest (Cover)

Grief stricken and lonely, a boy interacts with an abused and abandoned stray cat facing similar pain. In this magical tale, a forest breathes with effervescence, guiding and educating in a mystical realm haunted by the presence of a maternal entity. This enlightening look at a semi-feral cat personified will bring even the cold-hearted to tears. Portrayed as a rational creature with emotional needs, this animal steals the limelight in heartrending scenes, a commentary on the human tendency toward apathy.

ForeWord Review - Forced Journey

Forced Journey (Cover)

In this touching dramatization, a twelve-year-old Jewish boy is sent to New York in 1939 to escape the Holocaust. Zibart emphasizes the insensitive resistance to immigrants in an era of upheaval.

ForeWord Review - Her Name Is Grace

Her Name Is Grace (Cover)

An orphan survives in alien arms to be trained as an angel. This fantasy, loaded with symbolism and myth, is an exploration of human character and resiliency.