I am looking for some help here.
The question I have is: What do you as a reader/reviewer look for in a good YA read? What elements are necessary to make it not just a good read, but one that separates itself from the pack?
I look forward to your answers. I am sure this will be interesting.
The number one answer is the same for all books - you must have a good story. And make sure it is written in a cohesive way that YA readers can follow. I have found that the less prose the better. There should always be something happening. Using the five senses extensivley puts the YA reader in the middle of the story.
No matter what the story is about (paranormal, romance, vampire) the underlying theme should be something the reader could relate to. And, for sure, DON'T preach. If you are trying to get a message across make it subtle.
Good points ,all. What do you mean by "Using the five senses"?
Each page should have at least one of the five senses.
The more the better if it is used within the story and not just listed so it feels "put in" not written into the story.
Interesting. I have not read this before, I am glad you were nice enough to discuss it.Thanks.
I heard this many years ago and usually during editing I try to remember to look for these. It's amazing to see how a story can change when you add the senses to the scene. This allows the reader to relate to the scene. If a character is upset you don't want to say they are upset you want to show how they "feel". Also feel could be how sticky or smooth or yukky an item could be. To "see" how an approaching storm is you can incorporate "sight' by describing the dark clouds, "smell" by the ozone, "hear" by the thunder.
It sounds simple but we are all guilty of just telling instead of showing by using the senses.
I like the way you amplified on it. Makes "sense". Thanks.
Well written, well edited... those are of uttmost importance in any book.
As far as YA specific? Usually that means it is set in teenage years with some sort of drama, romance, and coming of age spin. Normally there are bad choices, stupid mistakes, and lessons learned. What makes a good YA read to me is a well plotted out story line. It has to be interesting and have some kind of change in the main character from start to finish.
Does the story line need a certain amount of characters to carry this off in your estimation? Or is the smaller the universe the better?
The story needs as many characters as are required to achieve the result (build the plot) you desire. Action to no purpose confuses by cluttering up the plot. A lot of characters who stand around and do nothing also clutter up the plot and they're BORING. Use as many as you need but not one more. Lean and mean is the rule.
I like the lean and mean part.Good point.Thanks.
I want to see a story that's well-written and thoughtful. I prefer characters that are more mature; I don't want to see love triangles and high school drama, but rather coming of age and establishing one's own identity and place in the world.
By thoughtful do you mean in relation to the life of the character, those that surround them, or in all aspects of the story arc?