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Beyond the Blockbusters - Themes and Trends in Contemporary Young Adult Fiction

Beyond the Blockbusters

Themes and Trends in Contemporary Young Adult Fiction

Edited by Rebekah Fitzsimmons & Casey Alane Wilson
Series: Children's Literature Association Series

Hardcover : 9781496827135, 254 pages, 2 tables, March 2020
Paperback : 9781496827142, 254 pages, 2 tables, March 2020

A necessary expansion of the lens and landscape of young adult literature


Contributions by Megan Brown, Jill Coste, Sara K. Day, Rachel Dean-Ruzicka, Rebekah Fitzsimmons, Amber Gray, Roxanne Harde, Tom Jesse, Heidi Jones, Kaylee Jangula Mootz, Leah Phillips, Rachel L. Rickard Rebellino, S. R. Toliver, Jason Vanfosson, Sarah E. Whitney, and Casey Alane Wilson

While critical and popular attention afforded to twenty-first-century young adult literature has exponentially increased in recent years, classroom materials and scholarship have remained static in focus and slight in scope. Twilight, The Hunger Games, The Fault in Our Stars, and The Hate U Give overwhelm conversations among scholars and critics—but these are far from the only texts in need of analysis.

Beyond the Blockbusters: Themes and Trends in Contemporary Young Adult Fiction offers a necessary remedy to this limiting perspective, bringing together essays about the many subgenres, themes, and character types that have until now been overlooked. The collection tackles a diverse range of topics—modern updates to the marriage plot; fairy tale retellings in dystopian settings; stories of extrajudicial police killings and racial justice. The approaches are united, though, by a commitment to exploring the large-scale generic and theoretical structures at work in each set of texts.

As a collection, Beyond the Blockbusters is an exciting entryway into a field that continues to grow and change even as its works captivate massive audiences. It will prove a crucial addition to the library of any scholar or instructor of young adult literature.


"As scholars, can we allow ourselves to enjoy YA novels at the same time as we take them seriously, for better or for worse? In the case of Beyond the Blockbusters, the answer is a resounding yes. As with all blockbusters, the editors of this collection must get a sequel into production as soon as possible, because its premise and various research foci have so much potential for future research. "

- Gabriel Duckels, International Journal of Young Adult Literature, Vol. 1, No. 1

"The work is worthwhile. This collection of essays is most effectively taken one essay at a time because the essays provide solid scholarship related to their individual focus. "

- Robert Prickett, The Lion and the Unicorn

"Beyond the Blockbusters: Themes and Trends in Contemporary Young Adult Fiction, is an excellent addition to the study of Young Adult (YA) literature, providing key insights into the roles that understudied and underrecognized texts play in literary discourse about adolescence. "

- Katy Lewis, Children's Literature

"Highly recommended"

- A. W. Petersen, emeritus, Buena Vista University, CHOICE

"The aim of the overall collection is timely and useful to expanding the study of YA literature, a genre in which American novels and cultural values continue to dominate the conversation."

- Zoe Alford, Journal of American Culture