Sunday, March 15, 2015

Star Wars Journeys into Young Adult

Coming September 4, 2015

Coming this fall, Disney Book Group/Lucasfilm Press will enter Star Wars into the very popular world of Young Adult fiction.

YA, as it’s known, can be simplified as “fiction for teens” but there’s more to it than that. Current YA can be as edgy and challenging as “adult” fiction but generally has young protagonists deal with meaningful-to-teenager issues, regardless of how fantastical the storyline or setting may be. But YA isn’t just about teens: good YA novels really speak to teens.

Arriving September 4th, 2015 among several other titles under the exciting “Journey to Star Wars: The Force Awakens” banner is Lost Stars by best-selling YA novelist Claudia Gray. Gray is known for supernatural stories that never shy from romance like her Evernight series and Spellcaster trilogy. Be sure to read her website's fun post about getting to write a Star Wars book!

Here’s the publisher’s description of Lost Stars: This thrilling Young Adult novel gives readers a macro view of some of the most important events in the Star Wars universe, from the rise of the Rebellion to the fall of the Empire. Readers will experience these major moments through the eyes of two childhood friends - Ciena Ree and Thane Kyrell - who have grown up to become an Imperial officer and a Rebel pilot. Now on opposite sides of the war, will these two star-crossed lovers reunite, or will duty tear them-and the galaxy-apart?

Author Claudia Gray
Star Wars “adult” novels have always been mostly PG to PG-13, so why does Star Wars need to be in Young Adult too? Can’t young readers just go from the kids' novels straight to the Del Rey series?

Sure, they can, but they may not want to.

Teens may want to read about what teens really do in the Star Wars universe, and that’s an area where Star Wars fiction has seldom gone. Traditionally Star Wars books focusing on teen characters are intended for kids 8-12, known as "middle grade" readers to the publishing world.

Imagine if Sabine could share her true thoughts with no frowning adults or impressionable children around, or if farmboy Luke could really unload about his frustrations with Uncle Owen. What about that Paolo guy Padmé spoke about? That’s the kind of thing that could be in Star Wars YA. Not your thing? You’re likely not a teenager then! Lost Stars and future Star Wars YA novels could become meaningful entry points for teenage fans wanting to get into Star Wars fiction.

While Star Wars Kidscast blog & podcast usually focuses on Star Wars stuff for children, this new expansion into teen readership will be something we, to paraphrase Senator Palpatine, will watch with great interest!

Learn more:
Author Chuck Wendig , no stranger to YA, will also have his first Star Wars novel published this fall by Del Rey (entitled Aftermath). On his site he has a terrific breakdown explaining modern YA. Fair warning: the article contains some foul language but if you can’t handle a few curse words then tread carefully into contemporary young adult fiction!

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