Teens (and for the sake of conversation let’s include tweens ages 10-12) are newly indepenent thinkers, yet not ready to fly solo. Some blame the underlying tension and conflict between teens and parents on a generation gap – but I think it has more to do with them wanting to make decisions on their own and us wanting to guide them in the direction we know may work out best. An ounce of prevention and all that jazz.
And like its readers, YA is a pretty mixed bag. Some books are so edgy they may singe your eyelashes, while others are so mild and sweet, you wonder if there are any unjaded teens out there to enjoy it.
Dealing with such a huge range of books can make it hard for parents to know what their teen is reading, much less know what to buy them as gifts. If you’re anything like me, you’re thinking gift card!
Still, it can’t hurt to know what’s out there. And since YA by African American authors mix and mingle with all YA, it’s sometimes harder to find the books revolved around characters of color. So here’s a microcosm of what’s out there, from the sweet to the upper.
I’ve even created a rudimentary chart to help somewhat decipher “edgy” from sweet. Key thing to remember is that sweet vs. upper is about content. That means that sweet YA can be read and enjoyed by both younger and older teens, while upper will contain content that a parent may want to check first for younger teen readers.
(S)weet – Content appropriate for 10+
U(pper) – Content for 13+
The Bluford High Series (U)