T is for Tested
It’s day 20 of
the A to Z Challenge!
Otherwise known as the letter T Day for my theme
Novels for Young Adults.
A key aspect of moving from child to adult is to face adversity, and, hopefully, learn from it. Sometimes if we’re lucky, we can face adversity and grow stronger through characters. Growing up can be a lot less painful if characters do some of it for us. I can’t think of a good young adult novel in which the young narrator is not tested. The two novels today feature two main characters who are severely tested.
Teenage Sophie is the caretaker of her mentally ill mother, a fact she must keep secret or the two will be separated. Every day when she rushes home from school, Sophie cooks and cleans and cares for her mother, but one day, Sophie returns to find her mother nearly dead from a suicide attempt. With her mother hospitalized, Sophie can no longer maintain her secret life and must move in with an aunt she has never known. Sophie has been tested all her life, but now that she is no longer in charge, she faces new challenges of family and school life.
Most readers are familiar with this classic of American literature. The young narrator Scout is tested in many ways. She must learn painful truths in a 1920’s Southern community divided by race and class. Her resolve not to “act like a girl” (as brother Jem taunts her) is also tested in a society that tries to push her into rigid gender roles. And as young as she is, she must confront nothing less than the forces of good and evil. Though not a young adult novel, this Pulitzer winner is a fine introduction to courage that young people have benefited from for generations.
Who is your favorite tested character? What type of test did this character confront?
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