The Author Of Young Adult Fiction Says The Genre Captures Universal Emotions—And Heightens Them
For Jenny Han, best-selling author of the To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before series, young adult fiction has much to offer readers at any age.
“The emotions your teen characters feel—love, fear, embarrassment—are the same as your adult characters,” she says. “They just tend to be stronger when you’re a teenager because everything’s happening for the first time, plus hormones—it’s all so heightened.”
Han, who has written two other YA trilogies, as well as short stories and children’s books, says she believes readers can find everything they appreciate in adult novels—compelling characters, the feeling of immersion in a different world, beautiful writing, pearls of wisdom about their own lives—in young adult fiction.
And her work clearly resonates with audiences from all walks of life. The Netflix adaptations of the first two books in the To All the Boys series, which Han also executive-produced, were huge hits on the streaming service. A Netflix version of the third book is still to come, as is the Shonda Rhimes anthology series Notes on Love, with an episode written and executive-produced by Han.
Author Jenny Han says the emotions many teen characters feel are heightened, making for more engaging stories.
Han, 40, says she sees film production as another route to storytelling. “Costumes, hair and makeup, sets—I was doing all of that on the page in my books, but with movies, you get to collaborate with really talented people who bring your vision to life,” she says.
The writer-producer took a break from her busy schedule to share with us some of her favorite books, for readers young, old, and in between:
Until the new dance and travel season takes off, here are five of Copeland’s favorite home items keeping her cozy and content while staying put.
I Capture the Castle, by Dodie Smith
“My all-time favorite book, YA or otherwise. YA as we know it today didn’t exist when the book came out in 1948, but I would consider it very much a YA book in spirit. I think it’s everything a great YA book should be—honest and immediate, eternally fresh and transportive. It’s about an English girl who lives in a crumbling castle; what she wants most in the world is to be a writer.”
We Are the Wildcats, by Siobhan Vivian
“As for newly released YA, I’ve had such a busy year, I haven’t gotten to read nearly as much as I like! But one of my recent favorites is We Are the Wildcats by Siobhan Vivian, a book about a girls field hockey team that takes down their toxic coach.”
Clap When You Land, by Elizabeth Acevedo
“I also love this novel in verse, about two girls who discover they are sisters when their father dies in a plane crash.”
Just as Long as We’re Together, by Judy Blume
“Just as Long as We’re Together is a slice of life, traditional coming of age, and it just gets girlhood right. And there’s a cool Asian-American girl in it named Alison Monceau.”
Weekend, Final Friends, Spellbound, Witch, by Christopher Pike
“Honestly [there are] too many to name. His books were always scary but not too scary, and a little bit sexy. I had crushes on all of his characters.”