Move Over Judy Blume

writing young adult novels cover

Writing Young Adult Novels: How to Write the Stories that Today’s Teens Want to Read
Irwin and Eyerly

The last bullet point on the back cover (see below) reminds me of some of my college literature classes.  Readers looking for hidden sexist and racist messages in your writing will find it, whether you intended to put it there or not. I remember some class discussions where all kinds of crazy theories came out and I never got it.  “You got that from this??”  There was also a sassy retired lady in a book club Mary once ran who could find a sexual reference in ANYTHING.

This might have been a handy book in the late ’80s, but it is sorely out of date now.  I think the key is the phrase “Today’s Teens” in the subtitle.


Back cover of writing young adult novels


  1. They probably mean using male-specific pronouns for things.

    Anyway, I suspect some of the more general advice may be valid.

  2. “When correctly viewed, everything is lewd!” – Tom Lehrer, “Smut”

  3. I’m a bit surprised by their statement about not sugarcoating the realities of abortion. I’ve gotten so used to the fact that no one on TV and very few people in books get abortions (your options, apparently, are keep it, consider possibly maybe giving it up for adoption, or have a convenient miscarriage…but probably keep it).

    To be honest, the only book I remember reading where a girl ends up getting an abortion (besides one recently, which surprised me) was written pre-Roe v. Wade, and took place in the 50s. Go figure.

  4. I love the college banner marked “College.” It’s good to know this teen is pro-college, though in a very general, non-specified way.

  5. Awww, Hadley Irwin was the pen-name of two ladies who wrote books largely based in Iowa. I read all their books in middle school (in the 90s, they were still relevant then, but probably barely at all now) and was really disturbed by the way they would portray some things dead accurately, and make others up. One of the books includes a RAGBRAI trek, and another describes the insanely complicated directions to get to the Botanical Center, but at the same time they write in my summer camp, described by name and location, but with facilities and programmes it had never, ever had.

  6. How to write a novel today’s teens will want to read: make at least one of the characters a vampire.

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