Monday, 4 January 2010

YA Fiction: Research in Reading

I am the first to admit, I don't read much YA (young adult) fiction.

However, recently I have started to review a YA novel and found it intriguing. One reason, many YA novels are filled with tidbits of information I've had to research on the internet. Maybe because YA authors want to educate the readers not only entertain. Whatever the reason, I find myself constantly researching!

For example, the novel I'm reviewing the writer tells a story about a girl who goes to John Marshall High School in California. The high school really exists and she's obviously been there. She mentions a lot about the architecture of not only the school but of various neighborhoods around. Since starting the book, I have done research on the high school, I've watched a video by Van Halen that was filmed there, I've researched Neutra houses and the neighborhood Silverlake.

I'm so much smarter than a 5th grader now!

This isn't the only YA fiction where research is needed. My son reads a series called: The Guild of Specialists and he constantly researches things relating to that book.

These are some photos from the book:

Now my son is smarter than a 5th grader!

I think it's important to entertain your reader that way once and awhile. I do admit wanting to read or watch shows purely for escapism but for a book to challenge the mind. Wonderful!


Kimberly Franklin said...

I love YA novels. Not that I'm baised or anything. : ) I'm so glad your enjoying your YA read. YA is so much better than what everyone expects. It's like adult fiction with teenage angst and boys. And what's better than that???

: ) Great post!

Elizabeth McKenzie said...

research sucks. You can't avoid it, however. One of the best books I've read in my life is call "The New Breed." You can't find this book anywhere except in my book box buried under piles of other boxes in a cupboard. What made this book fun was the elaborate section on wine making. Mind you, this was written before the internet, but you came away with a rather complete knowledge of vineyards and wine.

Ann Elle Altman said...

Kimberly, I will be reviewing and editing more of that genre in the future.

Elizabeth, Sometimes the best books are ones that we find hidden somewhere from long ago. One of my father's favorite short stories comes from a book tattered and worn. It's one of my favorites too.

Thanks for your comments.


Anonymous said...

Agreed! I think you know I write historical fiction; some of my reviewers have actually requested more info on the history of the area where my story is set.

I'm taking this feedback with a grain of salt, because I certainly don't want to over-douse the story in history, but I do think it's possible to pair historical info with plot - and inform the readers without them necessarily realizing they're learning.

Never should one fall into preaching though! Either you're writing a novel or a research essay - never both. :)

Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

I'm not familiar with that series, Ann. I'll have to check it out. My son's in 7th grade and I have a tough time finding things for him to read...he reads quickly and voraciously...a nice problem to have, though! Sounds like your son is the same way.

Mystery Writing is Murder

Ann Elle Altman said...

Elizabeth, the Guild of Specialist series is the best I've found for my son who really likes science and inventions. Try


TirzahLaughs said...

Research can be addictive. Don't forget to eventually use it to write.


That's always my problem.