In the age of social media, we are left wondering whether reading and literature has a place among teens and young adults. If we are going to base it on current book statistics, the numbers are promising. According to the annual report of the Association of American Publishers (AAP), sales of YA books experienced the biggest revenue growth for publishers in the past five years. Last year, publisher revenue for YA fiction has grown by 1.6%. YA books are so popular that there are about 50 book festivals specifically catered to this genre for fans of all ages.
Every year, authors continue to churn out compelling and thrilling stories that spark the imagination of a new generation of readers. One great thing about publishers of YA fiction is that they are aware that in order to reach YA readers where they are, they have to engage them in social media. Giant publishers such as Scholastic, Penguin, and HarperCollins have all launched YA reading communities on Facebook and Twitter.
There are great YA novels that need to be read not only because they tug at the heartstrings, but they also make the reader see the world through the eyes of someone else. Here is a list of must-read YA novels in the social media era:
· A Very Large Expanse of Sea by Tahereh Mafi
Tired of being stereotyped, a Muslim teenager tries to live a normal life amidst antagonism in her small-town high school. Set after the events of Sept. 11.
· Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli
This best captures the email relationship between not-so-openly gay Simon and another boy. It is a totally relatable coming-of-age, coming out story in the 21st century.
· The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
Starr Carter, a 16-year-old girl, witnesses the shooting of her best friend by a police officer. She decides to speak against police brutality and the violence in her community.
· Piecing Me Together by Renee Watson
Jade is forced to join a mentorship organization where she learns to find her voice and help others. Jade pushes back against stereotypes and is also challenged to see people in her life in a different way.