Truth Above All in Young Adult Novels

Many of us are painfully aware that truth, one of the ultimate values that makes us human, is being eroded in this day of fake news and stories reworked to suit a particular audience. But does it matter? Certainly, a resounding yes is the answer. One pivotal place where truth should be extolled is within the pages of a Young Adult novel.

Since the 1990’s, when this category of novel came of age (having begun in the early 1960’s), the subject matter of this novel type has steadily become edgier, more thought-provoking, more prone to take risks. Young Adult literature today reflects the developmental needs of is audience. If authors tell these stories with truth and candor, more young people will read the books, and more will be touched and influenced in the best possible ways. Without the authenticity provided in the pages of such novels, the young reader may find it more difficult to think critically or begin to deal with realities they will face in adulthood.

In my new Young Adult novel, Beulah Land, published by Interlude Press, November 16, 2017, the protagonist Violette Sinclair, is persecuted by a sociopathic bully in the Missouri Ozarks, where they both live. She also must deal with her mother to discover truths that are painful, and dangerous, and too important to ignore. Vi has to reach deep within herself to find an abiding truth which she hopes will sustain her in her struggle with her tormentor, Dale.

When we, as authors, provide our young readers a framework in which truth lives, we give them role

models who will help them make sense of their own personal world. In Vi’s case, her best friend is Junior, the star linebacker in their little town’s high school. It is he who literally runs interference for Vi and saves her life. She returns the favor and saves his as well. Together, they discover truth; what is right, and what is wrong, and the ability to know the difference.

Only when a Young Adult novel, or any novel for that matter, is built on veracity and integrity, is the author able to find comfort in a story well told; a story brimming with interest, and fulsomeness, and abundance of spirit, and that most basic of human values, truth. One lives in hope that the very same comfort will occur within the reader.

For more about Nancy Stewart, and her new novel, visit her website at

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