The verse novel came into existence after the advent of prose novels as a contemporary form to replace narrative poetry that acts as a prototype of all forms of literature. Verse novels have existed for several centuries. However, they fell into decay and reappeared in the early 1990s. People consider the verse novel as a genre of young adult fiction. For example, Virginia Wolff wrote make lemonade in 1993 as the first verse novel that captured a different perspective to the narrative for young adult readers. Despite the fact that verse novels and poetry have not been famous, they contribute something unique to literature written for young adults (Campbell 612).
Stories told in verse form have existed from the odyssey to the plays of Shakespeare and the long historical narratives of Longfellow. However, stories told through poetry have appeared recent as a form in modern literature of children. Today, verse novels account for a high number of literature material used as a young adult literature. Verse novels and poetry have something unique for young adult literature because they provide easy reads for young adults. They have large spaces around words and between lines that make it easy for adult readers to read. Besides that, they contain short chapters that occur in short mediums of two to three pages each. Most young adults never like to read long pieces of literature because they consider them as tiring.
Therefore, the short chapters create an impression in young adults would read pieces of literature quickly, and thus make books popular to young adults. Therefore, it influences writing of young adults’ literature because authors capture the needs and considerations of young adults to come up with pieces of literature that young adults can read comfortably. The Simple Gifts by Stephen Herrick ascertain this fact. Many young adults have read the Simple Gifts because they find it easy. The words and paragraphs have large spaces between them. In addition, The Simple Gifts has short chapters that make it easier for young adults to read and enjoy it (Koelling and Carter 41).
Verse novels and poetry tell reality in an emotional way that young adults appreciate. Most of the authors who write verse novels use the present tense and narrate them in the first person often using teen voice. These features help the young adult to navigate through the piece of literature through the eyes and words of a character that they identify with, in the novel, in terms of age. The young adult reader can identify with the character in the play because every event depicted in the piece of literature comes constructed through the feelings and emotions of the speaker. This makes it easy, for the reader to comprehend and attach the feelings the piece of work elicits. The Simple Gift demonstrates elements of belonging and acceptance that manifest themselves through pain and suffering of rejection, homelessness and dealing with death by characters, such as Billy, a sixteen years boy. Herrick uses young characters that a young adult reader can identify with in terms of feelings, emotions and age (Edwards 65).
The verse novels and poems use poetic devices that help a young adult reader concentrate. They use short lines and have a constant enjambment force the reader to self-audit their reading of sentences in the verse novel continually. In this way, the young adult readers become more aware of the intention of the author to break the line in specific places and question the emphasis placed on a group of words in specific sentences. In a common sense, the verse uses ordinary language that appeals to the young adult reader. It helps detract the initial hesitation that young adult readers experience when they come across novels with foreign layout (Vardell 65).
Verse novels and poetry differ from common poetry in terms of subversion of poetic language. While common forms of poetry use highly figurative and metaphorical language with hidden meanings, verse novels use simplistic language that does not require a reader to get in to so much thought or reread the verse novel to get the meaning. The Star Jumps by Lorraine Marwood ascertains the above observation. The verse novel comes in the form of a long poem that uses a clear language and has a direct meaning for the reader to get clearly when reading it. It does not offer a challenging form of language that would force a reader to get into much thought. The Star Jumps builds itself around a single perspective, thought and voice.
Verse novels cover common thematic concerns that contribute uniquely to literature written for young adults. They cover thematic issues that young adults can identify with and put themselves in those situations. Most verse novels cover topics and themes that young adults encounter in their everyday life. They explore themes in a manner unique only to their form. They explore themes through the ways that the speaker reacts emotionally to situations, as opposed to confining to descriptions of events, which sometimes occur in unclear forms. Verse novels search for the identity of the protagonist, which develops alongside changes in their daily lives and events that happen daily. Verse novels explore the interior part of a character including his emotive reactions to situations and internal dialogues that a reader knows will change their personality. For instance, verse novels do not talk about sex in plain sense.
Instead, they seek to explore the feelings and reactions of teenagers to issues of love and sexual desires. They also address relationships that center on the emotional investment of the reader in a socially constructed manner. The Simple Gift addresses the issue of a protagonist who expresses his feelings about an irrelevant educational system together with physical and psychological torture he received from his father. He decided to leave home in search of a social world that would appeal to him and make him happy. Young adults can identify with such verse novel because it makes them experience the world of the protagonist in a realistic perspective. Such verse novels contribute uniquely to any form of literature written for young adults because they force authors to identify and write pieces that appeal to young adult readers (Wills 1).
Despite the fact that verse novels contribute immensely to works written for young adult readers, they pose a controversy that may confuse young adult readers not to recognize pieces of literature that they read. For instance, one young adult reader avoided verse poetry because she thought that verse novels manifest themselves as full of poetry. She did this because she had not time poetry requires. However, when she read one of them she commented that verse novels are a simplified poetry. Some authors of verse poetry bring this sort of confusion. For example, Sonja Sones, a writer of verse novel said that she was poet first, then storyteller second.
In conclusion, verse novels and poetry appeal to young adult readers because of their readability, use of emotive language, thematic exploration, use of nonlinear structure and their exploration of themes. They contribute uniquely to works written for young adult readers because they tend to take the form that verse novels use to appeal to young adult readers. Writers try to create works that appear natural and have a taste that would make young adult readers want to read them (Wolf, Coats and Jenkins 309).