Canonical Angst in Young Adolescent Literature by Elysia Liang

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Young adult literature is a blooming literary category. This newly discovered territory is ever developing. Elysia Liang, author of Canonical Angst in Young Adolescent Literature, insists, “The notion of adolescence as a stepping-stone between childhood and adulthood is recent” (2). She associates this with a direct change in childhood development, stating, “Before the 20th century, the marker of adulthood was entrance into the work-force. With children as young as 10 holding jobs to help support their families, few entertained the existence of an in-between stage of development” (2). Before the explosive growth of YA, adolescents were subject to read either children’s books or “‘Adult Books for Young People’ ” (3). To truly understand the growth of the young adult category, one must look at the figures. In 1997, 3,000 books were published that fit the YA category, according to R.R. Bowker’s Publishers Weekly. In 2009, that number jumped to well over 30,000.
I believe the growing force behind this category derives from the themes and characteristics echoed throughout many YA texts. The themes encompassed in YA lit, and there are many, feed the readers appetite.
Characters & Voice
Adults are seldom the main character of a YA novel; instead, the protagonist is, more often than not, of youth. This makes sense. An older person has experience and knowledge that is lacked by an adolescent. If the main character is older in age, his or her opinion, no matter how

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