When it comes to teen reads, real-life sagas of racism and bullying are on one end and fantastical sci-fi tales of clashing universes and empowered Millennials seem to be on the other. However, important, igniting themes are crossing genres and coming together in a literary explosion. Novels hitting on real-life teen and young adult struggles are breaking down the barriers to important conversation and opening up young minds to better, stronger possibilities.
Mary Weber breeches topics of human trafficking, obsessive gaming and the blurred lined between reality and virtual reality in “The Evaporation of Sofi Snow,” which released earlier this month.
“With robots doing our vacuuming, 3-D printers creating prosthetic limbs, and cars that drive themselves, we are living in uncharted territory that sometimes feels a little like science fiction,” says Weber, a mother and author of young adult sci-fi novels.
Simlilarly, through her mastery of world-building and mind-bending plots, Sara Ella takes speculative fiction and dystopian magical realism to another universe but incorporates earthly dilemmas in “Unraveling,” the anxiously awaited continuation of the Unblemished Trilogy, which releases in July.
The story has strong universal themes that will hit with religious and non-religious readers, such as good versus evil and love that reaches beyond bloodlines. It also bursts at the seams with inspiration and empowerment for young women and anti-bullying messages that will resonate with impressionable readers.
“I have two young daughters who will, soon enough, have to face a very real world. So, it was important to me to be true to the challenges and struggles teen face and create a relatable character that wasn’t immune to feelings like hurt, shame and fear,” said Ella. “My hope is that the story will embolden young men and women and help them imagine possibilities beyond what they see in the world.”
Book one of the series, “Unblemished,” was released last year to high praise and was recently awarded the Evangelical Christian Book Association’s Christian Book Award in the young adult category.
In addition to being a truly perfect summer reads, these stories laced the narrative with themes like teen activism, the importance of compassion to humanity, difficult family relationships, and empowering girls in male-dominated spheres – will resonate equally with teen readers and their parents, teachers, and librarians.