“Children need windows and mirrors. They need mirrors in which they see themselves and windows through which they see the world.”
Pine Reads Review brought the community of the University of Arizona and lovers of Young Adult (YA) literature together at Worlds of Words for a meet and greet with authors Kathleen Glasgow, Stephanie Elliot, and Kelly deVos that turned into an enriching conversation on the importance of YA for young people. The three authors were accompanied by two mental health ambassadors (an MD and an LPC) to discuss the value YA literature that deals with difficult topics brings to young readers.
Kathleen Glasgow, author of the New York Times best-selling novel, Girl in Pieces, offered her insight into the importance of literature, in particular, YA, for not only young people, but for all ages and genders. Glasgow emphasized that she wants her book to act as a mirror for her readers to see themselves in and be able to connect to. Literature functions as a bridge into mental health awareness, which is why YA is vital for youth.
Stephanie Elliot, authorof Sad Perfect, talked about her novel which is based on her daughter’s struggle with Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID). Elliot opened up about the anxiety her daughter faced socially which makes for a heartbreaking, yet important topic to be discussed universally.
Kelly deVos discussed her debut YA novel, Fat Girl on a Plane, (released this May) that features a teen facing body shaming. We were lucky enough to get a preliminary reading from her novel. deVos shared that she wrote this book for all body types in order to offer an insightful perspective from a teen who is publically faced with body shaming.
Interested in hearing more about what we thought about Girl in Pieces, Sad Perfect and Fat Girl on a Plane? Stay tuned and watch out for our upcoming book reviews! You can find our book review of Sad Perfect, Fat Girl on a Plane, and Girl in Pieces in the links below.
Stephanie Elliot, Sad Perfect Review
Kelly Devos, Fat Girl on a Plane Review
Kathleen Glasgow, Girl in Pieces Review
Pine Reads Review thanks the University of Arizona for a Faculty-Student Interaction Grant and the College of Medicine for co-sponsoring this event.
Although the three books discuss very different ideas and topics there are certain aspects of these novels that align with one another. Glasgow and deVos both commented on the large age gap between their female leads and their lovers. While Glasgow wanted to make the age gap larger, her editor told her that might be too creepy for YA which Glasgow completely agrees with. However, this kind of thing actually does happen for young teens on the streets. An older man would take in the teen (usually female) and “care for her” while also using her for sex. “This type of stuff happens all the time to young teens on the streets, and I wanted to show that in my book. While I made Riley closer in age to Charlie, he is still much older than her and takes advantage of her naivety. It’s a toxic relationship, no matter how you look at it.” Glasgow says that it’s important to have this kind of representation for young adults in her book. While it may not be pretty, these topics need to be talked about, and what better way to do that than through Young Adult literature?