Scott, Clemens Mill | January 4, 2021
Young Adult literature is usually so often associated with fantasy heroes and the tangles of new romance that it gets overlooked by adults and teens alike, but there are also an abundance of titles that are on the pulse of world issues, tackling inequality, race, and sexuality through the lens of adolescence. At Idea Exchange, we have plenty of options in our Young Adult collection that explore diverse narratives and are willing to challenge its readers.
Take for example Christina Reed Hammonds’ debut novel The Black Kids, which shares the experience of Ashley, a black high school senior growing up in Los Angeles during the 1992 Rodney King Riots. Or Alexie Sherman’s The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, one of the most challenged and banned books in recent history, which introduces us to Indigenous teenager Junior as he leaves his reserve to attend an all-white school. There’s also Abdi Nazemian’s Like a Love Story, a heartbreaking and warming novel about Iranian-born teenager Reza and his life as a questioning and queer immigrant during the AIDS crisis.
Even if you are looking for that fantasy or romantic escapism, Young Adult books often transcend genre expectations with a willingness to represent minority experiences, like Adam Silvera’s latest fantasy title Infinity Son, which is full of diverse and well-rounded characters who also have magical powers. Or you can try Cherie Dimaline’s The Marrow Thieves, set in Canada’s future where Indigenous teens are hunted for their ability to still dream. And, if you’re looking for some young romance, Kacen Callender’s Felix Ever After delves into the experience of a transgender teen who becomes the center of an unexpected love triangle.
What all these novels have in common is the willingness to tackle head-on complex issues like systemic racism, ignorance, transphobia and homophobia, but in fearlessly creative and digestible ways. (Oh, and if you haven’t caught on, they’re also all Young Adult titles!)
Clemens Mill has a great selection of our favourite titles that explore themes in BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Colour) and 2SLGBTQ (Two-Spirit, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer/Questioning) Young Adult literature. Place a title on hold today and discover new perspectives and a few new favourite authors too!