YA that Doesn't Need to Come of Age
This panel seeks to explore young adult novels that depart from the coming of age story for teen protagonists, and the progressive ways that they can position their main characters as already actors with agency in the world. For instance, in recent young adult novels by Darcie Little Badger Elatsoe and A Snake Falls to Earth, the protagonists are already respected by their parents and they’re asexual. They don’t need to rebel against their authority figures or have sexual awakenings. In the tradition of Nancy Drew novels, in The Box in the Woods by Maureen Johnson, the protagonist is already known as a teen sleuth and has an established boyfriend. She doesn’t need to break out into the wider world or discover her first love, either. By bypassing the standard shape of a YA novel, these texts are all able to get other things done. I invite papers about contemporary or historical novels that work outside of the “coming of age” story mold for YA, to facilitate a discussion about the borders of genre and form, and how reader expectations can be exceeded.
Submit abstract: https://cfplist.com/nemla/Home/S/19788