Coming of Age
Teen novels can be classified in many ways. They cover all the usual categories—sci-fi, romance, fantasy, and horror to name a few, but they are also about children in their most formative years, from twelve to their mid-twenties. Therefore, the subjects in those books can range from sheer entertainment to a serious look at their world.
Some of the subjects we have seen in abundance are drug abuse, alcoholism, family struggles such as incest and abuse, and bullying. When an author has written a book on these issues, they are often at a loss how to classify them. These books don’t fit neatly into the usual categories and there are hard choices to be made.
One place we can put these novels is coming of age—which describes what these teens go through following these experiences. There is a lot of peer pressure to use drugs and alcohol. Don’t fool yourselves, Mom and Dad, the pressure is even more today than it was when you were a teen, although you might get your teen to open up more if you relate some of your less than stellar experiences.
Books are also a good way to get your teen to see drinking, drugs, and the other problems as something that happens to others. They won’t feel alone and might be able to face getting help for their problem, even if that help comes from outside the home. These books weren’t written to point fingers at parenting skills, but rather to show the world that these problems haven’t gone away, that some have gotten worse, and not talking about them won’t solve anything.