The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, February 13, 2004


Check It Out "Tween" Genres: JH Fiction

Of all the sections of the library collection, Junior High (JH) fiction may be the least understood. The titles found there are thematically more complex and written at a higher reading level than juvenile fiction, yet they are different from adult fiction. Many of the protagonists are exactly the age of the targeted reading audience: ten- to fourteen-year-olds dealing with the adventures, joys, mysteries, and crises of growing up, just as their readers are.

Themes in this genre include the struggles of growing up, such as the Phyllis Reynolds Naylor's Alice series or the comedic contemporary fiction of The Princess Diaries. Here also is the gritty, unsparing writing of Robert Cormier and the exciting survival stories of Gary Paulsen.Historical fiction abounds here, thoroughly researched and well-written. Karen Cushman's resourceful characters, Matilda Bone and Lucy Whipple, are unforgettable heroines who bring an historical period to life, as do those of Avi and Christopher Paul Curtis. JH level readers also like fantasy, and there are many to choose from, including series by Tamora Pierce, Eoin Colfer, and Phillip Pullman. A selection of classics are also shelved here - Treasure Island, Robinson Crusoe and Tom Sawyer, as well as our growing collection of graphic novels.

What's new in JH fiction is the number of esteemed authors who are now writing for this once-overlooked audience, among them Isabel Allende, Joyce Carol Oates and Carl Hiaasen.From journeys of self-discovery to Holocaust stories, family dramas, and wilderness adventures, JH fiction is full of solid writing, good storytelling, and hidden literary gems for this very special demographic.

2004 The Carlisle Mosquito