Popular Young Adult Fiction Themes
There's no question about it: Young Adult (YA) fiction has exploded over the past few
years. The YA audience (pre-teens and teens between 13 and 18 years old) is a hot market, steadily
growing in popularity and garnering the attention of young readers. Authors of YA fiction often
focus on themes which directly affect their young readers. It's a great place for storytelling
where authors can use words to address present youth issues in an attempt to help their readers
cope with difficult experiences.
Coming of Age
One of the most popular themes covered by Young Adult fiction is the transition of the
young protagonist from childhood to adulthood. Usually written from a first person point of
view, the main character often faces issues or challenges associated with the transition. Authors
focus on how the characters undergo a mental and emotional change as a result of confronting
said issues, either on their own or with the help of others.
Number the Stars by Lois Lowry,
The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
Building relationships is another popular theme addressed in YA fiction. The main character
faces challenges that he/she could not overcome without the help of family and friends. Although
the bond between the protagonist and his/her family and friends may begin shakily, it is made
stronger during the course of the story after having conquered trials in the midst of mutual
I'll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson,
The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
In a self-discovery Young Adult fiction theme, the protagonist learns more about himself
as he faces different issues. These issues force him/her to question the authority and the
beliefs on which he was raised. The story chronicles the main character's process of seeking
the truth of an accepted reality, forcing him to become his own person and eventually inspire
others to follow.
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis.
Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
Dealing with Loss
YA fiction authors also write books on themes that help their readers deal with loss.
The main character is subjected to the grief of losing someone or something special - a person,
animal or object. The loss is not limited to death - loss can be the result of having absentee
parents or dealing with emotional distance. The story follows how the protagonist heals and
grows as a result of the tragic experience.
The Giver by Lois Lowry,
Looking for Alaska by John Green
Romantic relationships are a huge obsession for teens. Although they lack real-life experience
in the love department, YA fiction makes up for it. The main characters experience firsts -
first love, first kiss, first heartbreak, rejection and acceptance. While dealing with these
firsts, the protagonist learns to love unconditionally and without judgment.
My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick,
The Last Summer by Ann Brashares
Many argue that the "dark side" YA themes are becoming too REAL for youth to be exposed
to. The course of the story involves how the protagonist explores the dark side of his/her
personality in relation to society. These topics include suicide, racism, teenage pregnancy,
rape and more. As the main characters explore the darker shade of society, they learn to be
wary of their actions and cope with the whats, whys, hows and what ifs of their experiences.
Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher,
This Lullaby by Sarah Dessen
There is no mystery to writing Young Adult fiction themes. Believable characters, a compelling
plot and REAL life issues is a full proof recipe for creating a book that will entertain, inspire
and encourage young adult readers.
Tanisha Williams is the author of two non-profit e-books
501(c)(3) in 12 Steps and
Simple Internal Controls That Protect Assets.
Her desire for more interaction with readers was the key inspiration behind the development of her
latest business venture ChatEbooks