“Things Are Rough All Over”: Likeability and Empathy in The Catcher in the Rye and The Outsiders

This week, the readings for my course Young Adult Materials offered me a chance to revisit the past. Of the four suggested novels I had read three as a teenager: J. D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye, S. E. Hinton’s The Outsiders, and Judy Blume’s Forever. I remembered hating The Catcher in the Rye — good God Holden, is there anyone in the world that you don’t think is a phony? Your endless criticism is both hypocritical and dull — but loving the latter two.¬†The Outsiders was one of the few school assigned readings I enjoyed on its own merits and I spent at least a month in middle school reading through everything else S. E. Hinton had ever published.¬†Forever was one of the many Judy Blume novels I devoured after discovering¬†Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret.

I was curious, then, to see whether I would interact with these novels differently as an adult. Continue reading ““Things Are Rough All Over”: Likeability and Empathy in The Catcher in the Rye and The Outsiders”


Self(-ishness) and the YA Protaganist

Karen Coats’ “Young Adult Literature: Growing Up in Theory” is an excellent article. She argues for the need to develop a critical studies of young adult literature — akin to the analytical frameworks already in place for studying traditional literature and children’s literature. While she makes several interesting suggestions for what distinguishes YA literature as its own field and how we should subsequently approach it, one comment she made on YA protagonists particularly caught my interest:

If the hallmark of the teen character has traditionally been Holden Caulfield’s narcissistic self-involvement, then Infinite Darlene represents a kind of expansive narcissism that admits of embeddedness in community as integral to the self (Coates 319).

Continue reading “Self(-ishness) and the YA Protaganist”

Who Uses the Teen Annex? Exploring the YA Section of My Local Library

I spend a lot of time in the teen section of my public library. Since the library is inside my local mall, I use weekly grocery shopping as an opportunity to drop in to the library and pick up any holds or interesting new titles. When I have time to relax and read the teen section is the first place I head to. After taking the opportunity to closely observe the Teen Annex today, I’ve noticed that it seems to be the most popular section of the library for patrons of all ages.


Continue reading “Who Uses the Teen Annex? Exploring the YA Section of My Local Library”