Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

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 topics should fall into one of the following four options:

  • Reading the books for ENG 350, you are probably noticing some recurring ideas, or tropes (see for a definition). Select 2 or 3 of the books read for class (whole-class reads or your choice book) that share a common element that has struck you.  

  • Alternatively, you may want to examine some of the ways in which authors of YA books experiment with genre or form, for example, through the use of verse, the incorporation of letters, or multiple points of view. Select 2 or 3 books that experiment with form and discuss how this affects the story. 

  • Another possibility is to compare/contrast different versions of the same text, such as the graphic novel and conventional novel, or the novel and a film version of the same story (anything but The Hate U Give, which you are writing collaboratively about). 

  • If you like to read and will read beyond the boundaries of the books required for class, you may want to read another book by an author whose work we are reading in ENG 350, such as Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely’s All American Boys or Adib Khorram’s Darius the Great Deserves Better, the sequel to Darius the Great Is Not Okay. Discuss any important similarities and/or differences you see, or new insights you have into the book read for class based on your further reading. 

Start by selecting the title you'd like to explore and then explore which of the above topics you'd like to explore further. If you're having focusing your topic, try some of the exercises below:

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.