by Steve Simpson
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Just to give you a feel about the books, if a teacher in any classroom today asked their students who would like a book that talks about suicide or being a child of an alcoholic or reasons that they should report their child abuse, most educators and mental health professionals would tell you they are not going to get any students to raise their hands, openly admit they have these problems and ask for it. And yet, one out of every five children lives in a home where there is alcoholism or drug abuse. Suicide is the number one cause of death amongst teenagers.
The unique thing is that all 4 of Steve?s young adult fiction novels contain an insert called ?The Teenage and Young Adult Survival Handbook?. ?The Teenage and Young Adult Survival Handbook? addresses being a child of an alcoholic and its effects on an individual, letting them know that many of their faults and problems they attribute to themselves personally are just the symptoms of living in an family where there is alcoholism and drug abuse; the reasons why an abuse victim does not want to report their abuse and makes points why they should and of course that they are not responsible for the abuse; personal stories and anecdotes of how someone's self-esteem and self-worth can effect so much and how to improve and raise someone's self-esteem and self-worth; the feelings of someone who is thinking of suicide and how to change those feelings and pick healthy ways of dealing with their problems and feelings; surviving back to school, how to obtain patience with oneself while trying to change negative habits to positive ones, even surviving the holidays in a dysfunctional home!
Each segment is short and to the point because young people going through these issues tend to have a short attention span. Each topic is written from a personal perspective of the author Steve Simpson who has lived through these issues himself and gives ideas of how to get through them and hope. One key element is that in each topic the author Steve encourages the readers to go to the school professionals, such as the school social worker, psychologist or counselor for help and references community centers and churches also for self-help groups, 12 step programs and outreach. Steve realizes from being a volunteer for many years with youth groups that no book will cure anybody but the idea is to let the reader know they're not alone, give them ideas of how to better themselves and get them to ask for help.
The fact that ?The Teenage and Young Adult Survival Handbook? is in Steve's books it camouflages the students from exposing their personal issues while asking for the books. They can just plain want to read the main fiction stories. It also allows the concerned professional, adult or peer to give the books to a troubled youth without having the conflict of the young person questioning why they are being given this book. The professional or concerned individual can simply state that they thought they would enjoy the story.
The categories of the 4 novels, "Who Am I?", "The World is Wrong", "Runaway" and "Child's Island" range from action, drama, science fiction and adventure so there is something for everybody to enjoy. The stories are extremely exciting and nonstop action mixed with realistic teenage and young adult romances and humor. The characters are totally relatable to today's young people. They will find themselves and their friends and relatives in the characters. They act like typical teenagers and young adults of today if they were put in fantastic situations. The characters even have problems that many have growing up such as coming from abusive or dysfunctional homes or being children of alcoholics and drug addicts. Once again the characters are very relatable to the young readers. This also opens the door for them to want to read ?The Teenage and Young Adult Survival Handbook?.
The "book within a book" idea becomes a valuable tool for educators, professionals, volunteers and concerned adults to get important information of help and hope to young people who may not have had another channel to receive it.