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Supernatural Youth: The Rise of the Teen Hero in Literature and Popular Culture Hardcover

ISBN-13: 978-0739128596 ISBN-10: 0739128590

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Editorial Reviews


Supernatural Youth is truly a unique collection. In over a dozen essays written, appropriately, by engaged young scholars, this readable, provocative, and comprehensive book offers a multifaceted, many-voiced, multi-media consideration of the young hero/heroine. It will add years to its readers’ sophistication while making their imaginations young again. —David Lavery, founding editor of Slayage: The Journal of the Whedon Studies Association

Jes Battis has gathered a lively set of essays on a subject of serious significance—the deeply needed fantasy stories of ‘embattled and marginalized youth.’ From Gideon Haberkorn and Verena Reinhardt’s aphoristic appreciation of novelist Terry Pratchett to David Kociemba’s defense of the extraordinary ordinariness of Buffy’s Xander; from Alison Ching’s analysis of the archetypes of Holly Bush’s urban fantasy to Hugh Davis’s tour of the allusions of Hex, these essays provide a vivid picture of the kind of hero that lives at the heart of the best current YA fantasy. Perhaps most important of all, each contributor, in a different way, focuses on the ethics underlying these stories of what Battis calls ‘queer and questioning teens. —Rhonda V. Wilcox, Gordon College

To quote Tamora Pierce, the author of The Song of the Lioness and several other young adult novels, fantasy is a 'literature of empowerment.' This aphorism takes on new meaning in light of the many provocative observations put forth in Supernatural Youth: The Rise of the Teen Hero in Literature and Popular Culture. Bringing together thirteen original essays that transport the reader from the outer edges of Terry Pratchett’s Discworld to the hallowed halls of Hogwarts and beyond, this energetic collection will doubtless spark a reassessment of our most treasured cinematic, literary, and televisual texts (including Ursula K. Le Guin’s Earthsea volumes, Neil Gaiman’s comic book series The Books of Magic, and Joss Whedon’s cult sensation Buffy the Vampire Slayer). But this book’s greatest contribution is its thoroughgoing exploration of the ways in which an 'intangible, ethical magic' (to borrow the words of Jes Battis) at the heart of these and other less widely discussed texts (such as the TV series Hex and Sabrina the Teenage Witch) informs the construction of gender, sexuality, and adolescent identity among social outcasts. Like Pierce’s allegorical tales involving cross-dressing and lesbianism, Supernatural Youth challenges us 'to see beyond the concrete universe and to envision other ways of living and alternative mindsets' —an invitation that can empower readers young and old alike. —David Scott Diffrient, Colorado State University

About the Author

Jes Battis is assistant professor of English at the University of Regina, Saskatchewan. He is also the editor of Homofiles: Theory, Sexuality, and Graduate Studies (Lexington Books, 2011).

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