Book Talk – The Impact of Female Authors on Young Adult Literature

Welcome to Book Talk, an occasional feature on Book Club Mom, home to quick previews of new and not-so-new books that catch my eye and other bookish discussions.

Today I’m going to highlight five female Young Adult authors and talk about an upcoming discussion on their role in literature, but before I do that, a little history on the genre.

Young Adult literature first came to the reading world in the 1960s and has been evolving ever since. What these books have in common is that they are much more realistic than what adolescents traditionally read before. The genre came to be as authors began to write about modern and grittier problems and themes, unique to teenagers.

But did you know that the term “teenagers” didn’t emerge until the 1940s? It first appeared in a 1941 issue of Popular Science Monthly. Before that, the American population was divided into two groups: adults and children. You were an adult if you were in the workforce and a child if you were in school. Things began to change during the Great Depression because there were fewer jobs for Americans of all ages. So many more adolescents were enrolled in high school, not working a job.

Librarians were the first to call teenagers “young adults,” in the 1940s, a term that was made official in 1957 by the American Library Association.

I found this information in a great May 2018 article from Smithsonian.com, entitled “How ‘Young Adult’ Fiction Blossomed With Teenage Culture in America.” You can read it here.


The following female authors write about modern teenagers and offer a nice variety of Young Adult literature.

Odd One Out by Nic Stone


The Beauty That Remains by Ashley Woodfolk


Far from the Tree by Robin Benway


Before the Devil Breaks You (The Diviners) by Libba Bray


I Have Lost My Way by Gayle Forman

(All author and book cover images are from Amazon.com.)

On Saturday, October 13, this group will convene at the Westport Library in Westport, Connecticut, to discuss their audiences, intentions, and themes in the YA genre. These women will specifically focus on their beliefs about the role of a female author writing about young adults in the current climate of teens today. This discussion is part of the library’s Saugatuck StoryFest Events and, if you live in the area, you can check out the details here.

I enjoy reading YA books, even though I’m long past the target reading age, because I like to understand what themes are interesting and important to teenage readers. Are you a YA fan? What are your favorite YA books?

Thanks for visiting – come back soon!

11 thoughts on “Book Talk – The Impact of Female Authors on Young Adult Literature

    1. Hi Stephanie – yes I didn’t know any of that before I wrote this post. I do like YA but I haven’t read any in a while. Thanks for reading and commenting and Happy Monday to you! 😉

  1. Interesting blog post. I like to change literary genres from book to book and include a YA novel from time to time. Some favorites over the years include, TELL THE WOLVES I’M HOME, THE PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER, ELEANOR AND PARK, CODE NAME VERITY, and THE FAULT IN OUR STARS.

    I enjoy all of your posts.

  2. Oh my, that will be a superb discussion and wish I could be there! Barbara, it was fascinating to learn about the history of Young Adult books … I thought the term was coined this century, not so long ago! Through my son I started reading some, at first not even aware they were YA books. John Green is one favourites, Louis Sacha’s Holes is terrific, I loved all of Suzanne Collins Hunger Games trilogy and one of the best in the genre has to be Wonder. I hadn’t realised until just now when looking up the author that R J Palacio is a woman. Overall, my only gripe with the YA term is that it stops adults of all ages from looking at these excellent books as they think they will be ‘juvenile’ in some way, when the truth is that the writing and stories are superb and unique! Happy Reading! 😀 📖

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