Young adult literature is powerful, inventive, and worthy of respect—and those writing it have enormous potential in their hands. Part workshop and part seminar, this class will explore the craft of YA literature through creative assignments and readings of texts by both giants in the field and emerging voices, and discussions of student work in a constructive environment. Students will focus on craft concerns crucial to writing about and for teens, such as: voice, point of view, immediacy, opening hooks, and pacing, and we will look beyond straightforward prose into forms such as verse novels, epistolary, and other experimental mashups. Students will read contemporary YA works and will write creative responses inspired by assigned readings. Authors we will study as models may include Elizabeth Acevedo, Tiffany D. Jackson, Malinda Lo, Samantha Mabry, Anna-Marie McLemore, Emily X.R. Pan, Randy Ribay, Courtney Summers, and Ibi Zoboi. Come ready to challenge any preconceptions you may have about YA literature and examine what some believe is its greatest potential: to offer young readers a vehicle for recognizing themselves, and for reflecting and even transforming the world around them. Students will workshop their own YA novel openings and share YA short story drafts in small groups. Ultimately students will come away with a final portfolio of creative work that showcases their unique YA voice, with potential for further exploration beyond the confines of this class.