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McNair Scholars Program

Adrianna Gordey, M.A.

she/her

Education: Bachelor of Arts in English (August 2019)

Master of Arts in English from Kansas State University

McNair Project: Tweens, Teens, and the Twenty-Two-Year-Old in-between: Appealing to the Masses with Young Adult Literature (2019)

Mentor: Dan Hoyt, Ph.D.

As a twenty-two-year-old adult, I am still captivated by young adult (YA) literature, and I am not alone in this trend. The advertised age of the YA reader is twelve to eighteen, but the actual readership of the genre ranges in age from eighteen to thirty. My research project investigates this phenomenon in three ways: 1) exploration of YA books before and after the genre was officially established, 2) analysis of commonalities, and 3) application of the patterns in my own YA novel. In my novel, I implement common topics from the genre such as the development of the self, the creation of community, and the internal self’s introduction to the external world that I observed in other YA books. I will discuss the writing craft used to construct the novel and illustrate how the tropes of the genre appeal to readers beyond the target range. Tropes such as the development of self, the crisis of competing identities, and the sacrifices made in the name of progress. By reading and writing YA literature, I want to showcase the genre’s ability to translate from the page to real-life.