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A Guide to the More Common Literary Genres


Realistic stories candidly treat the problems that belong specifically to young adult's in today's world. Realism introduces young readers to sibling rivalry, moving, running away, adjusting to a single-parent family, death, divorce, adoption, drugs, alcohol, puberty, pregnancy, sexuality, religion, illness, handicaps and suicide.

Examples of Realism by theme include:


  • Katherine Paterson, Bridge to Terabithia
  • Paul Zindel, Pigman
  • A Taste for Blackberries by Doris Buchanan Smith
  • Where the Lilies Bloom by Vera and Bill Cleaver
  • Of Love and Death and Other Journeys by Isabelle Holland


  • Are You There, God? It's Me Margaret by Judy Blume
  • My Darling, My Hamburger by Paul Zindel
  • Sycamore Year by Mildred Lee
  • Mr and Mrs Bo Jo Jones by Ann Head

Drugs, Alcohol, Teenage Pregnancy, Abortion

  • The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier
  • My Name is Davy, I'm an Alcoholic - Ann Sneyder
  • Dinky Hocker Shoots Smack - M.E. Kerr
  • Mr and Mrs Bo Jo Jones - Ann Head


  • Deenie - Judy Blume
  • The Swing - Emily Hanson
  • I Have a Sister My Sister is Deaf - Jeanne Whitehouse Peterson

Family Life and Sibling Relationships/Rivalry

  • The Pistacchio Prescription - Paula Danzinger
  • Nobody's Family Is Going to Change - Louise Fitzhugh
  • Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing - Judy Blume
  • The One in the Middle is the Green Kangaroo - Judy Blume
  • Teacup Full of Roses - Sharon Bell Mathis
  • A Baby Sister for Frances - Russell Hoban
  • The Trouble With Jack - Shirley Hughes
  • The Very Worst Monster - Pat Hutchins
  • One of Three - Angela Johnson
  • Peter's Chair - Ezra Jack Keats
  • The Toy Brother - William Steig


  • Mom, the Wolfman and Me - Norma Klein
  • A Girl Called Al - Constance C. Greene
  • It's Not the End of the World - Judy Blume
  • My Dad Lives in a Downtown Hotel - Peggy Mann

Browse Realistic Fiction reviewed on Bookhooks

Realistic Fiction Questions to get you started

1. Do you know anyone who has dealt with a similar issue in his or her lives? What made the story realistic in dealing with issue? What parts of the story seemed unrealistic and why?

2. Write a series of diary entries from the main character’s point of view. Choose a time when the issue(s) they are facing begins to escalate.

3. What real life issues were raised in this novel?

4. There are various ways in which young people can seek help to deal with real life issues. What services exist in your community for a young person facing the problems presented in the story? Research places to get information on a specific issue and phone numbers to call in a crisis situation.

5. What steps did the main character in the story take to come to terms with the issues in your book? Write up a chronology from the discovery of the issue to the end result. In your opinion was there a suitable resolution in the end?

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Major genres (fiction) Click on a genre for detailed information

Action/AdventureAnimal StoriesDrama Fantasy Historical Fiction Horror HumourMagic Realism Mystery Poetry Realism Romance Science FictionWestern