Why can’t teens get enough of romance novels? Because they fill readers with much needed hope and guidance, say a group of YA authors speaking on the August 9 SLJ online event SummerTeen panel, “Who Will Mend This Broken Heart?”
Kate Kacvinsky focuses on realistic love stories, where relationships have rocky, uncertain beginnings. The protagonists of her latest novel, First Comes Love (Houghton Harcourt, 2012), don’t fall in love at first sight—in fact, they don’t even like each other. However, Kacvinsky wants readers to see that surviving tough, challenging times is what makes romances so rich and rewarding.
Lurlene McDaniel, a RITA Award winner and author of several IRA-CBC Children’s Choice Award books, is no stranger to romance, but her upcoming book, Year of Luminous Love (Random, 2013), the first in a new series, explores different kinds of love, such as parental love, affection, and the highest form of love: transcendent love. While her books deal with tough subjects, such as romance in the face of sickness and death, she believes that they resonate with teens because of the encouraging message that love can triumph over anything—even death.
Earl Sewell, the author of the “Keysha and Friends” (Kimani TRU) books, says many of his fans turn to his novels for advice in navigating the strange new territory of first love. In addition to relationship drama, he also addresses current themes that readers can relate to, such as social media or the Internet. His latest, Back to Me (Kimani TRU, 2012), explores the dangers of sexting when the naked photo a girl sends to her boyfriend goes viral.
Miranda Kenneally, author of Catching Jordan (2011) and Stealing Parker (2012) and co-editor of Dear Teen Me (Zest, 2012), says her books give young readers hope for the future. Her upcoming Things I Can’t Forget (2012, all Sourcebooks/Fire, 2013) deals with a Christian girl who finds love even after committing what she believes to be the worst sin imaginable–helping her best friend get an abortion.
While the panelists address dark and difficult themes in their work, they all expressed the need to give fans a positive message, with McDaniel concluding that, “Hope is what we’ve got down here.”
Other SLJ SummerTeen Interviews: