Relevancy Trumps All for Reluctant Readers | YA Underground

What makes YA sexy to readers? Two things: great stories and powerful connections. Fantasy and science fiction can engulf with powerful stories. Dystopic stories of underdog teens who take on the establishment and win against the odds are always popular with young adult readers who are stretching their own wings and trying to overcome the odds with parents and teachers. Proving themselves as they grow into adults is a big part of the YA identity. Second only to real life stories and testimonials from the survivors of real YA stories. Nothing is more relevant than a story from someone who really did survive youth and lived to tell about it. Stories of failure and recovery, trial and victory in real life situations gives these stories “street cred” and for YA readers, particularly reluctant readers who may be part of a population that does not identify often with many YA fictional characters,these stories, often nonfiction, are relevant and immediately riveting.
As always, I will defer to the expert, Amy Cheney, who’s blog offers insight and expert analysis on the stories best suited for the YA Underground.

Juvenile Justice Literacy Project

Published in School Library Journal By Amy Cheney on October 14, 2014

As I read, and read, and read some more, I am always looking for the combination of elements that will make the book a hot read for reluctant readers and the kids I serve in the YA Underground.

The winning recipe, and I can’t say it enough, is this:

  1. A great cover.
  2. Lots of action and adventure—exterior action, not interior. Prose that shows, not tells.
  3. Relevant (and for my teens this means real).
  4. White space and a large type face.fromgodsmonster Relevancy Trumps All for Reluctant Readers | YA Underground

I wrote about Pacc Butler’s book From God’s Monster to the Devil’s Angel: Life of a Chicago Gang Member (Createspace, 2014) as my top pick in the last YA Underground, but I lamented the cover. Well, he’s changed it. I love the new cover, and it will surely have the book flying off the shelves.

Runaway Thoughts, an…

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