Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Why Parents Should Read YA Novels

Maybe this comes easily to me because I've still never grown out of YA Novels into preferring adult novels, but I think parents should read YA novels. For one thing, reading what your kids read is a great way to connect. But even more important than having something in common is the empathy you'll feel for what it's like to be a teenager (because let's be was much longer ago than it feels) and the insight into how teens are affected by their parents.

Sarah Tipton offers a chance to foster this empathy and insight through her tension-packed Christian YA novel, Betrayal of the Band.

Here's the book blurb from Amazon:

"Three friends. One summer. Countless consequences.

Lured away by a college band promising more singing exposure, ambitious high school senior, Zoey Harris, abandons her boyfriend, her band, and her values. 

Justin Conrad is determined not to make the mistakes his dad made that nearly tore their family apart, so he will support Zoey's every decision--even if he knows it's the worst decision for her and for him.

Being a drummer is all Sawyer Mahon has. When Zoey abandons them, Sawyer sees his future fading faster than the crash of cymbals. After all, what good is a drummer without a band? 

But after one wrong kiss, more than just the future of their band is destroyed. Can Zoey, Justin, Sawyer, and their band survive betrayal?"

Zoey, Justin, and Sawyer are each authentic teens with depth and flaws who face tough choices. There were so many times I wanted to yell at the characters, "NO WHAT ARE YOU DOING STOP IT." That's the mom in me who wants to shield these characters from pain. Haha. But at the same time, I get it. Their mistakes make sense. I understand them. Because I'm a person who has made mistakes too. YA novels help us move outside of that parenting tunnel vision we can get, where were tempted to let our thoughts be 100% "NO WHAT ARE YOU DOING STOP IT." YA books expand our vision and remind us that behind the mistakes are real, complex people with their own desires, feelings, and struggles. Then we can approach our kids with understanding and grace in those situations where they make choices we aren't thrilled with.

In Betrayal of the Band, Tipton also does a fantastic job of including the parents and home life as a part of what shapes the characters.

Zoey wants so badly to honor her mom's memory, that she's feels responsible for making choices that will make her mom proud. That's a tall order for anyone. Where do her own desires and needs fit? Can anyone effectively live their own life if they have this pressure to make someone proud?

Justin has overprotective, strict parents and sees his mom as a hypocrite. It's interesting to explore whether this straight-and-narrow character is a product of his strict upbringing, and whether or not that perfection is more than skin-deep when crap hits the fan.

Sawyer is raised by his single mom and doesn't know his dad. The relationship between Sawyer and his mom is my favorite relationship in the entire book because they're so real with each other. I could gush about these two all day. But as great as the relationship with his mom is, he has some demons in regard to his absent dad.

The nature vs nurture debate is always interesting, and I believe both nature and nurture shape a person. Parents have a lot of influence. And I bet each of us could use a little more empathy and connection no matter what age our children are.

Do you read YA as an adult? Have any YA novels given you insight into the teen/parent relationship? Tell me about it!

Want to read Betrayal of the Band by Sarah Tipton? Here are some helpful links:

Hard copy is out! Digital download is available for preorder and drops August 11.

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Twitter: @TiptonSarah

About the author:

Sarah Tipton shares Alaska with her characters, where she lives with her family, including some adorable pups. She's a homeschooler extraordinaire and crochets when she's not running, spending time with her family, and daydreaming plots.

Visit Her Arms Are Strong on Facebook for more content on crunchy living, gentle parenting, and faith-filled motherhood.


  1. Love this! I love YA books, and while I don't have avid readers myself, they will sit and listen to me read, which we do regularly.

    1. Thank you! So sweet that they listen to you read.

  2. Such a good point about giving us empathy for our kids. High School was hard when I was in school, so I'm already nervous for what it'll be like for my son.

    1. It was a hard time for me too. Probably hard for every person on some way, so it's nice when your family has your back.

  3. Reading books is a great hobby. But i dont have ya books. But sounds great.

  4. Reading books is a great hobby. But i dont have ya books. But sounds great.

  5. Interesting point ! I was never into YA novels much but who knows what my son will be into when he is older !

  6. I have always liked reading YA noels, even into my late 20's. Since having my little, I have missed out on reading. Need to start again :)

  7. It's funny, but when I go to the bookstore the books I'm drawn too happen to be YA. It's great because both my daughter and I can read them.