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ENG 350 Young Adult Literature Class Guide


Welcome! This page is designed to help you with your Young Adult Literature research paper. Use this page to learn more about:

If you have any questions about any aspect of your research assignment, please feel free to reach out to me at

Selecting a Topic

Coming up with a thesis statement for a critical literary paper can be difficult, but these strategies should help you in the process. Take some time to brainstorm and look back at readings from the course. Consider the topics that interested you during the class and explore those more fully.

Your assignment reads:

For the research essay, you will choose a controversial topic related to, or within YA literature (for example: book banning; sexuality; violence; gay/lesbian/queer content; birth control; teen suicide; teens and drugs) and discuss it in depth.

Start by selecting your topic of interest in YA literature and identify course texts that fall into those categories. You may also bring other titles in to argue your topic. If you're having focusing your topic, try some of the exercises below:

If you're still having trouble, think about looking into the subject terms for your course texts to see what topics are covered within them. For example, in the subject terms for Monster by Walter Dean Myers, you'll find such subject terms as "self-perception," "prisons—fiction," "African Americans—fiction," and more.

If you'd like to see the subject terms, select the image of the cover of the book you're interested in to get started:

Writing Your Thesis Statement

Once you know what you would like to discuss within the primary work, try to write your thesis down in one or two sentences. Thesis sentences should be clear, concise, and specific. The Bridgewater College Writing Center has this to say about thesis statements:

In general, academic writing requires a thesis statement. A thesis statement is often considered to be part of an argumentative text, any paper that takes a position on something, that is, a paper that makes a claim. One way to think about the thesis statement is that if you boiled your whole case down to a single statement, that statement would be your thesis. A thesis statement typically identifies your topic and embodies your attitude toward your topic. Most writing assignments will require you to take a position on a topic, and most college professors expect to find a clear statement of that position, almost always in your introductory paragraph. 

For more information on writing thesis statements, see the Bridgewater College Writing Center page on thesis statements.