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Genre Guide: Paranormal Romances for Teens

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Definition

Paranormal Romance is a sub-genre of Romance. For a novel to be a Paranormal Romance, a simple thing must occur: love must begin between a human and a supernatural being (whether wholly supernatural or partially, just as long as there are supernatural elements present). However, this can be a broad interpretation. Usually, the protagonist (often the human) in these novels is put in some kind of danger, where they come to realize they can overcome this danger either on their own or with the help of the supernatural love interest.

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Characteristics
Main characters include both humans and supernatural beings. The supernatural being can be wholly supernatural or partly, and include but are not limited by the following “types”: vampire, werewolf, fairy, magician, mermaid, zombie, psychic, ghost, demon hunter, demon, angel, shapeshifter, dragon, and gods or goddesses.  Additionally, the human in Paranormal Romances can have a touch of the paranormal as well.  An example is the teen psychic that can see the ghost. Quite often, when it comes to paranormal romances written for teens, a love triangle is involved.  There could be more than one human, or more than one supernatural being in the triangle.

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Guide to Angels in YA Literature

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Now that ghosts and ghouls have had their day, it seems appropriate to turn to beneficent supernatural beings. In fact, there’s a long tradition of honoring saints (All Saints’ Day) and praying for the souls of departed loved ones (All Souls Day) just after Halloween.

In recent years, we’ve seen countless permutations of teen characters with paranormal qualities. Good vampires, tormented werewolves, hilarious zombies… and so many more. Perhaps it was inevitable that angels, traditionally sacred creatures busy with the work of God, should be incorporated into YA fiction. Hierarchies of angelic responsibilities were created centuries ago by at least four major religions: Christian, Jewish, Islamic, and Zoroastrian. It’s interesting to see what sort of worlds are created for today’s teen angels.

 Kissed by an Angel series by Elizabeth Chandler

This is an enduring series that focuses on the relationship between Tristan and Ivy, two beautiful teens who are tragically separated by Tristan’s death. Ivy is completely devastated, but she still feels Tristan’s presence, even feels the touch of his hand. This is because Tristan has returned to Ivy as her guardian angel. His task is protect Ivy from danger, particularly as they team up to track down Tristan’s killer. The first three books in the original trilogy are now published in one volume, Kissed by an Angel. Kissed by an Angel is an early entry in the realm of transcendental love affairs.

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Genre Guide: Urban Fantasy for Teens

Urban FantasyDefinition
Urban fantasy is a sub-genre of fantasy. For a novel to be an urban fantasy, fantastical elements exist in an urban setting. However, this can be a broad interpretation. Really, an urban fantasy is such where fantastical elements are in play in a real-world setting and not in a fantastical world. Urban fantasies occur in the present day, and can go back in history to around the start of the Victorian Era. When urban fantasies are written for teens, the protagonist or protagonists are often inexperienced when it comes to dealing with the fantastical forces at play. They are also usually drawn into a struggle, find romance, and/or develop their own fantastical abilities.

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Choose a Book by Its Cover

Every Day was one of The Atlantic Wire's most Wonderful Book Covers of 2012
Every Day was one of The Atlantic Wire’s most Wonderful Book Covers of 2012

Choosing a book by its cover is typically frowned upon, but lately I have been finding that it can be a great idea for both readers and libraries! Creating a book display centered solely on book cover art is not a new concept, but it is a visually appealing way to successfully recommend some good books. My library first learned about creating book recommendations based on the cover art for teens from another local teen librarian who was asking her teen advisory board to choose the next year’s lineup of book displays, with most of her displays choices being centered on similar visual imagery on book covers. What has been a surprise to me, though, is how popular some of our cover-themed displays have been with readers of all ages. They are eye-catching, they draw a browser in, and, as a result, we are constantly restocking these displays.

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