There are a lot of great reference books for writers that are available out there. Complemented with the recent explosion in quality online resources, it bodes well for writers who have a great idea and are willing to work hard on their manuscript.
Literary agent Regina Brooks’ Writing Great Books for Young Adults is one such helpful guide in one’s quest to conquer the youth adult literature world. Engaging, easy to understand, and filled with useful information, it would probably suit the needs of emerging young adult authors rather than established ones. Many of the rules writers have heard about before are included in this book, and the author explains why these rules exist as well as when and how they can be bent. Brooks covers all aspects of writing in this book, meaning that established writers (even unpublished ones) might feel like skipping quite a few chapters which will come in quite handy for new writers.
The same can be said about the list of resources the author provides. For those who have either not yet embarked on their YA journey or have just begun, the list will no doubt prove to be quite useful. But much of the list, which includes information about editors, writing guidelines and a list of competitions and awards for young adult fiction. will be quite familiar to seasoned writers.
The book in itself is meant to be an example of how YA books should be, what with the colors on the cover, the choice of font, and the layout inside. I had to admit that I was kind of disappointed that Brooks did not cover much of the ethical responsibility related to writing a book for a YA audience, as those in between the ages of 12 and 18 are particularly susceptible to the media they consume.
Writing Great Books for Young Adults is great for writers who have just started writing in general, as it includes general writing tips, and especially for writers of young adult literature. I can’t help but wonder if this book was Brooks’ silent commentary to the quality of the submissions she has been receiving.