How YA Lit Reflects Its Generation

Aired: April 28, 2013

With bestseller lists (and movie theaters) full of stories of teens and tweens battling their way through dystopian futures, it’s clear that adolescence has changed. While young adult literature has been around for generations, it’s transformed in recent years, becoming hugely popular genre with young people and adults in the process. The content has changed too, as Dr. Laura Nicosia, author of Educators Online: Preparing Today’s Teachers for Tomorrow’s Digital Literacies and professor of English at Montclair State University, and Flynn Meaney, author of two young adult novels, discuss in this episode of Humanities Connection. As the world around us becomes increasingly troubled, the literature of adolescence has become darker in tone.

What is dystopian fiction? Why are young adults so fascinated by vampires, werewolves, and other supernatural creatures? Laura Nicosia and Flynn Meaney discuss why adolescence and dystopia work so well together.

Young adult literature reflects young people’s concerns in historical moments. In this clip, Laura Nicosia talks about how young adult literature has changed over the last half-century and why.

Flynn Meaney, author of two successful young adult novels, talks about how she came to write YA lit, when she was only a few years older than her characters.


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