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Young Adult Literature: From Romance to Realism

3.91  ·  Rating details ·  443 ratings  ·  73 reviews
Today's young adult literature is every bit as complex as the audience it's written for, unflinchingly addressing such topics as homosexuality, mental illness, AIDS and drug abuse. In this much expanded revision of his 1996 book, veteran author Michael Cart shows how the best of contemporary YA lit has evolved to tackle such daunting subjects without resorting to sensation ...more
Paperback, 242 pages
Published August 23rd 2010 by ALA Editions (first published January 1st 1996)
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Average rating 3.91  · 
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Feb 01, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2017
I have had my eye on this book for a long time and was over the moon when the generous folks at the American Library Association sent me a copy. As I expected, it offers a useful overview of young adult literature as it originated in the twentieth century and became one of the American publishing industry's most lucrative sectors in the twenty-first. Sometimes it feels more like a memoir or treatise than a work of literary history, which I think makes sense considering that Cart draws primarily ...more
Readable, engaging history of YA fiction through roughly 2009. What was most fascinating to me was that we're having the same exact conversations that were happening during the late 1990s regarding "darkness," "frankness," and what it means to be "ya" anyway. ...more
Dec 15, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
Cart’s book Young Adult Literature: From Romance to Realism explores the history of young adult literature as well as current trends and issues. I found learning about the effects marketing had in shaping YA literature in the 60s and 70s, the trends that have occurred over the decades, and how both of these topics are still having huge impacts today really interesting. I enjoyed learning about the “first” YA books in different genres, but was disappointed that more women weren’t mention with the ...more
Sep 04, 2012 rated it really liked it
Young Adult Literature: From Romance to Realism is a fascinating and fun preview of the somewhat brief history, current and developing trends in young adult literature. Young Adult Literature has been updated with new information since it’s initial publishing in 1996 and released with a new, more modern cover and reformatted with a funky fresh font and style. Michael Cart, an expert in the field of Young Adult Literature, has crafted a poignant and rich look at young adult literacy from its infa ...more
I'm actually kind of glad that I didn't realize until after buying it that there was a new edition of this book. But it was interesting to get a mid-nineties reflection on YA, and maybe at some point I'll take a look at the new edition and see what he's added. It's not like the history has changed, so it's just the phrases like "right now" that should be changed to "in the nineties."

What I found most interesting was the final chapter, where essentially I was dog-earing and underlining EVERYTHING
It's interesting how very expanded this one is from the original, considering it's also shorter. There is a lot of good, relevant stuff here that is probably really useful for people who don't know YA, but as a whole, I felt that it was less interesting and less in depth, more for lay people than the original, which seemed a little more heavy on being for people who are somewhat scholars of the stuff already. Maybe I'm remembering incorrectly? ...more
Loretta Gaffney
Apr 11, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: to-teach
Will definitely use as the text in my next YA Literature class. I really like Cart's writing, and he's wonderfully cranky about bad YA. I missed the more rambling, personal style of the first edition, but appreciated that a book about YA in 2010 will be very different from a book about YA in 1996. Lots of fun, especially when you consider most of the books about YA are reallllly boring. ...more
May 04, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: text-books
I never thought I could give 4 stars to a text book...but for this one I can! Great information written in an entertaining and engaging way. Thought it was great!
Oct 02, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
i'm reading parts of the third edition of this text for my young adult literature class at a very respectable university with a very good english program and i can firmly say that, as someone extremely steeped in the ya lit communities on twitter and booktube and has been since 2014, this man is absolutely no authority to speak on current ya.

he may have a better grip on the history of the age group from the 1940s to 2000, but anything after that he has no grasp on.

he refers to political correctn
Keli Wright
Jun 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
Definitely a worthwhile read. Well-researched and clearly written.

This book gave me statistics, knowledge, and resources for continuing my exploration of this subject. Largely unbiased in tone, Cart generally does not press an agenda or his tastes on the reader. Clearly, however, he is passionate about sexuality and LGBT issues in YA lit. His neutrality slips a little in these chapters and on occasion he ascends a soapbox and even mildly attacks those with whom he disagrees. I wouldn't call it
Nov 14, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: c
If you wanted to learn more about YA as a genre (including its fascinating history), this is the book for you. It does toe the edge of being academic, but it's not hard to get through. And you can always skim the long statistical sections. : ) In all seriousness, Cart has done some impressive research. The only ding I can give him is that he mentions the Printz award a lot. It is one of the most important awards in children's literature so I kind of understand, but since he helped create it, it ...more
Jun 07, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, phd, 2017
An interesting look at the history of young adult literature in America, from the 40s and 50s all the way up to the present day (the most recent edition was published last year).

I found it very helpful and informative in regards to my studies, though I felt as though the more recent material was patchier and more bogged down in statistics than the material covering the history of YA.

Also, for a textbook this is very readable and engaging. I felt like I learnt a lot without it feeling like a chor

...a New York teen named Julia Rosen (1998, 347) may have spoken for her entire generation when she wrote, in VOYA magazine, "Reading 'bleak books' helps us to realize what kinds of problems actual teens have. They broaden our outlook and help us become less apathetic about the world's problems. Until we live in a world where no problems exist, where adults always behave responsibly, and where there are always happy endings, adults must learn to accept that some of the books we read will describ
Jan 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
Read this for class. It was a really good overview of YA lit, with some interesting history.

I thought it was great the way Cart used statistics for all the naysayers who think being is a teen is all about bubblegum and rainbows and so why give them books about sex and drugs and violence? It also serves to remind the reader the role that books can play in helping teens (and readers of all ages) to deal with the difficult issues and experiences that they face.

I can also this being a great resourc
Jul 10, 2018 rated it liked it
A history of YA literature can only be but so riveting. This provides an overview of what teenagehood entails and how the rise of teenagers as an audience and “construct” in the last century led to the need for books for that audience. That part is solid and interestingly presented. The rest is the book follows each decade and influences on the development of YA lit: genres, awards, librarians’ influences, etc.
Sep 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
Book #70 Read in 2018
Young Adult Literature: From Romance to Realism

This is a textbook of sorts, one that I might use in my Young Adult Literature elective. The book chronicles the history of young adult literature, how its popularity has soared, types of books and how the audience can sometimes span into adulthood. I borrowed this book from the public library.
Dec 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is a well-written book on young adult literature. Although I was reading it specifically for my senior thesis topic, I found it engaging (and even humorous at times) and overall useful for making me appreciate young adult literature as a genre. I did not agree with Michael Cart on a lot of the issues he brought up, but I appreciated the way he presented them.
Jul 23, 2020 rated it it was ok
A good resource for potential titles, but a trudge to read. This author really loves quoting himself, and while I appreciate that he’s apparently a highly regarded authority for young adult literature, anyone who, for example, repeatedly misspells R. L. Stine (it’s not “Stein”, Mr. Cart) hardly seems worthy of these imperious airs.
Apr 13, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Didn't give a lot of detail. History of YA Lit, yes. How to get teens interested in reading, no. Kept going back to "just pay attention to teens, what they're interested in and keep your options open to the medium!" Yes, that's important, but is that it? ...more
Nicole Cordier
Sep 18, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
I finished the third edition of this book. Was a pretty good summary of what’s been going on in the ya world. Clear writing.
Pop Korn
Nov 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book is interesting because is about romance
Liz Drummond
Mar 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
The most interesting text book I’ve ever read!
Read this for one of my grad. school classes. It was a good primer of YA literature, first discussing the history of YA literature and then moving on to topics and trends in modern YA literature.
Brianna Sowinski
Oct 20, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Truly enjoyable read, especially for a "textbook." ...more
Feb 14, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: librarian-books
Cart makes some good points in this book, but I was not very impressed with this book. It was poorly edited (lots of missing parenthesis). And Cart did not treat others with opposing viewpoints to his with a lot of respect.
May 07, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ya, professional
Michael Cart's book Young Adult Literature From Romance to Realism by Michael Cart does an awesome job of looking at the rise of young adult literature, from wat back when to almost today. Each decade is covered and many of the genres are included. This would be a great book for librarians and teachers of young adult literature. Cart includes lots of statistics which are very interesting, many titles of books up until 2010 and what I liked was he kept bringing up current titles and authors because if you are interested in YA literature, you need to read ...more
Feb 11, 2014 rated it really liked it
Kind of fun how much more enjoyable a book to read for University is when it's a subject you're actively interested in. My final project at University is looking at Young Adult books and various issues raised through them, good or bad, and this seemed a really good book to read in relation to that.

This shows the history and evolution of the genre, from the best part of a century ago to the modern day. Names a lot of books from each era/decade that proved important for one reason or another, and
This book is twenty years old at this point, so while I recognized the value in the historical perspective at a certain point it felt repetitive. I liked the review of the how YA came to be and the debates even still about what the "first" was but how it was ushered in by decades that proved generally fascinating. It heavily leans on ALA-- and I had to go back to see the publisher because it very much felt like it was published by ALA because of the connections to lists and "what librarians thou ...more
May 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My general exams and dissertation (in-progress) wouldn't have been possible without this book and several others that Cart co-authored with Christine Jenkins (see The Heart Has its Reasons (2006), Representing the Rainbow in Young Adult Literature (2018), and others).

Young Adult Literature: From Romance to Realism is an ideal guide for newcomers to the study of YAL. It is an accessible text that provides an overview of the history of YA in itself and popular genres within YAL, i.e. LGBTQ+ YAL.
Jan 23, 2011 rated it liked it
Michael Cart’s latest work chronicles the development of young adult literature from its recognition in the 1960s to its present boom in the 21st century. Expanding upon his 1996 edition, Cart includes new discussions about poetry, nonfiction, graphic novels, audiobooks and the role of young adult literature in a multimedia age. Cart showcases various breakthrough texts and awards in the category revealing his role as an expert in and contributor to young adult literature. For my full review vis ...more
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Former Director of the Beverly Hills (CA) Public Library and a Past President of the Young Adult Library Services Association, Michael Cart is a nationally recognized expert in children's and young adult literature. Now a columnist and reviewer for ALA's Booklist magazine, he is the author or editor of eight books, including From Romance to Realism, a critical history of YA literature; MY FATHER'S ...more

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  Kerine Wint is a software engineering graduate with more love for books than for computers. As an avid reader, writer, and fan of all things...
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