This study systematically categorized the types of multiple narrative perspectives existing in current young adult (YA) novels and explored the sociocultural phenomenon of why these texts are more prevalent in contemporary society. Guiding questions were: (1) How can multiple narrative perspective books usefully be described and defined? (2) Why do teens and adults who work with YA literature think more of these novels are being published? (3) What challenges do editors and marketers of major publishing houses encounter with these novels?
A literary analysis of 205 YA multiple narrative perspective novels was undertaken. Five categories and five features were identified and defined. The categories were: (1) One Event, Multiple Perspectives; (2) One Story, Multiple Perspectives; (3) Multiple Stories, Multiple Perspectives, Intertwined; (4) Then and Now; and (5) Parallel Stories. The features spanned across all categories, and were: (1) Sequence, (2) Structure/Organization; (3) Point of View; (4) Tense; and (5) Text Type.
The phenomenon of the increased publication of these books was examined through the viewpoints of adolescents and adults who work with YA literature (professors, librarians, teachers, editors, marketers). Data were collected through teen literature discussion groups, questionnaires, and interviews.
Results indicated three factors that have led to more multiple narrative perspective books being published: (1) textual changes (trends, market potential, literary evolution); (2) teen changes (teen sophistication, multiple perspectives teens encounter in daily life, code-switching of teens); and (3) technological changes (digital literacies, media influences).
Study results provided a language for discussion of multiple narrative perspective novels and their increased publication today. This research revealed how changes in literature, teen development, and technology have impacted the way YA books are being written.
This study has significant implications for research design within the field of adolescent literacy. The use of multiple perspectives in data collection and analysis yielded insights into the changing nature of YA literature and literacy that would not have been seen through a single approach.
An analysis of these novels also impacts practice. This study helps educators recognize diverse texts published for adolescents and suggests ways to use them effectively in the classroom.