Teens and the New Religious Landscape

Essays on Contemporary Young Adult Fiction


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About the Book

How are teenagers’ religious experiences shown in today’s young adult literature? How do authors use religious texts and beliefs to add depth to characters, settings and plots? How does YA fiction place itself in the larger conversation regarding religion?
Modern YA fiction does not shy away from the dilemmas and anxieties teenagers face today. While many stories end with the protagonist in a state of flux if not despair, some authors choose redemption or reconciliation.
This collection of new essays explores these issues and more, with a focus on stories in which characters respond to a new (often shifting) religious landscape, in both realistic and fantastic worlds.

About the Author(s)

Jacob Stratman is an associate professor of English and chair of the Humanities and Social Sciences Division at John Brown University. He has published articles in SIGNALEnglish Journal, Christianity and Literature and Literature and Belief and lives in Siloam Springs, Arkansas.

Bibliographic Details

Edited by Jacob Stratman
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 242
Bibliographic Info: notes, bibliographies, index
Copyright Date: 2018
pISBN: 978-1-4766-6807-9
eISBN: 978-1-4766-3099-1
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments v

Introduction: Young Adult Literature and the Postsecular Novel (Jacob Stratman) 1

Postsecular Young Adult Literature: or, Harry Potter and the New Religious Landscape (Paul T. Corrigan) 9

Fantasy as Realism: N.D. Wilson and the Influence of

Mythology (Jeremy Larson) 25

A Ninja, a Nun and a Knight: Christianity and Narrative Mischief in Brian Meehl’s You Don’t Know About Me, Suck It Up and Suck It Up and Die (Carrie Myers) 45

The Book Worlds of Nikki Grimes: An Invitation to Dialogic

Reading (Susan Leigh Brooks) 65

Young Adult Fiction, Diaspora and the “Muslim” Question:

A Study on Faith and Feminism in Randa ­Abdel-Fattah’s

Novels (Fatema Johera Ahmed) 80

The Customized Religion: Moralistic Therapeutic Deism, American Teenagers and Pete Hautman’s Godless (Jacob Stratman) 112

Learning How to Be Jewish in The Truth About My Bat Mitzvah and Confessions of a Closet Catholic (Patricia F. D’Ascoli) 122

“Stick up for these crazy stupid things”: Emily Horner’s Queer Quaker Road Trip Novel (Katelyn R. Browne) 135

Performing God: Kiran and Krishna in Rakesh Satyal’s

Blue Boy (Rizia Begum Laskar) 151

The Way of the Fantasist: Ethical Complexities in the Taoist Mythopoeic Fantasy of Ursula Le Guin’s A Wizard of Earthsea (David S. Hogsette) 171

The Language of Magic and Prayer: Intercession in the

Works of Merrie Haskell (Erin Wyble Newcomb) 189

Postsecular Cosplay, Fundamentalism and Martyrdom

in Gene Luen Yang’s Boxers & Saints (Carissa Turner Smith) 202

Sight, Blindness and Identity in Gene Luen Yang’s American Born Chinese and Boxers & Saints (­Shih-Wen Sue Chen) 218

About the Contributors 231

Index 233