Weaving the Digital World into Young Adult Fiction: Internet Dating, Gaming, and Blogging
Ten years from now, little excitement may be generated by a story told in a digital communication style if it has no other merit - just as now we are used to books written in the form of diary entries or letters. Today, IM (Instant Messaging) and Blogs have followed Email and crept into YA fiction, drawing people's attention because of the fresh format. Titles below, listed chronologically, are written in a variety of digital communication formats, or at least have such communications as part of the narrative. Included are a few titles that incorporate the digital game world. When available, books held at the UIUC Library are listed with location and call number.
Many of the titles have been gathered from listserv discussions on "YA lit and digital communication" at child_lit listserv (http://www.rci.rutgers.edu/~mjoseph/childlit/about.html) Jan. 2006.
At the end of this post is a list of LC Subject Headings that are assigned to fiction either written in or related to digital communications.
Romiette and Julio / Sharon M. Draper. 236 p.
Atheneum Books, 1999.
Romiette, an African-American girl, and Julio, a Hispanic boy, discover that they attend the same high school after falling in love on the Internet, but are harassed by a gang whose members object to their interracial dating.
[Education Storage] S.D791r
Ultimate Game: A Novel / Christian Lehmann; translated from the French by William Rodarmor. 178 p.
D.R. Godine, 2000.
When three high-school-age video game fanatics play a grossly underpriced, new virtual reality game, each is transported to the battlefields of different times.
Mildred L. Batchelder Award Honor Book
[Education Storage] S.L5281n:E
Hot Mail / Tessa Duder & William Taylor. 179 p.
Penguin Books, 2000.
A novel in emails.
Snail Mail No More / Paula Danziger & Ann M. Martin. 307 p.
Sequel to P.S. Longer Letter Later. Thirteen-year-old Tara and Elizabeth use email to "talk" about everything that is occurring in their lives and to try to maintain their closeness as they face big changes.
The Gospel According to Larry / Janet Tashjian. 227 p.
Henry Holt, 2001.
Seventeen-year-old Josh, a loner-philosopher who wants to make a difference in the world, tries to maintain his secret identity as the author of a web site that is receiving national attention. Do not miss its sequel Vote for Larry (S. T181v) if you like this one.
[CCB; Education S Collection] S.T181g
Heir Apparent / Vivian Vande Velde. 315 p.
While playing a total immersion virtual reality game of kings and intrigue, fourteen-year-old Giannine learns that demonstrators have damaged the equipment to which she is connected, and she must win the game quickly or be damaged herself.
[CCB; Education S Collection] S.V28h
Once upon a Marigold / Jean Ferris. 266 p.
This is not about the digital world. In this fairy tale, the hero and the princess communicate by carrier pigeon, a technological advance known as "p-mail."
[CCB; Education S Collection] S.F417o
Ttyl / Lauren Myracle. 209 p.
Amulet Books, 2004.
Chronicles, in "instant message" format, the day-to-day experiences, feelings, and plans of three friends, Zoe, Maddie, and Angela, as they begin tenth grade.
[CCB] S. M996t
Donorboy: A Novel / Brendan Halpin. 209 p.
Told entirely through e-mail, instant messaging, journal entries, and other random communications.
2005 Alex Awards Winner.
[Main Stacks] 813 H1642d
The Year of Secret Assignments / Jaclyn Moriarty. 340 p.
Arthur A. Levine Books, 2004.
Set in Australia, this novel told entirely in letters, diary entries, e-mails, bulletin-board announcements, etc. about three female students from Ashbury High writing to three male students from rival Brookfield High as part of a pen pal program.
[CCB; Education S Collection] S. M824y
Heart on My Sleeve / Ellen Wittlinger. 219 p.
Simon & Schuster, 2004.
From the end of high school to the beginning of college, Chloe and Julian deal with major changes in their families and friendships and explore their feelings for each other through emails, letters, and a visit.
[CCB] S. W786he
Rob & sara.com / P.J. Petersen and Ivy Ruckman. 210 p.
Rob, who lives at a school for troubled teenagers, and Sara, the sixteen-year-old daughter of an army colonel, meet in a poetry chat-room and develop a close relationship via email.
[CCB] S. P4422ro