Orphans in Young Adult Literature
As an adult, I have read much more young adult literature than I did as a young adult. It is an exploding genre with fantastic options these days. When I was younger, there were a few options, but not like it is today. That’s awesome. I am particularly hopeful for young adult books that mindfully tackle tough subjects for young adults rather than just pure entertainment. However, pure entertainment has its place too.
A prominent theme I’ve noticed in Harry Potter, arguably Divergent, the Grisha, The Lionness Quartet, and the Lunar Chronicles are orphaned teenagers. I wonder why this is such a popular theme. Does it speak to overcoming obstacles? Does it provide the tumultuous back drop necessary for the adventure that awaits them?
I hope it’s a way to introducing young adults to the eventuality of journeying out on one’s own, and that friends and success lie on the other side of hardship. However, I am also concerned. Does our youth relate to these stories because of discontent and disconnect from their parents.
Part of me feels that this concern is melodramatic as I enjoy theses series too, and I have great parents. Which brings me back to the question, why are so many popular young adult books dealing with orphaned children?
What do you think? What books have you read also dealing with this tough topic?