Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Tough Themes in Teen Novel

This new novel touches on the following themes: homelessness, self-mutilation, schizophrenia, suicide, and the occult.

In America more than 1.3 million children are homeless at some time each year.(1) This is a sad statistic and one that needs a bit more publicity. 1 in 8 youth under the age of 18 will leave home and become homeless and in need of services.(2) 12-17 year olds are at more risk of homelessness than are adults.(3) Nearly 20,000 youth are emancipated from foster care each year.(4)

According to TeenHelp.com it is estimated that in the U.S. one out of every 200 girls between the ages of 13 and 19 cuts herself regularly. This number is rising.

Schizophrenia is a major psychiatric illness. It often first appears in males during their late teens and early twenties, a little later for females. Symptoms include distorted reality, hallucinations, suicidal thoughts, delusions, anxiety, and odd behaviors. Worldwide as many as 50 million people suffer from schizophrenia.

The Centers for Disease control report that suicide is the third leading cause of death for young people aged 15 to 24. There are several different factors that may cause a teenager to take his or her life, but the most common is depression. Hopelessness, anxiety, and feelings of being trapped in a life that one can't handle are also contributors to teen suicide. In many cases teenagers believe that suicide is their only option.

The occult, including witchcraft, mysticism, astrology, and even the current fad of vampires and werewolves, feeds a craze that has flourished for thousands of years. Demon possession and exorcism are Biblical and historical.

Take all five of these themes, stir well, add a few American teens, and the paranormal will seem normal. SHELTERED is now out and available on AMAZON and Barnes & Noble.


(1) Ellen L. Bassuk, M.D. and Steven M. Friedman, Facts on Trauma and Homeless Children (Durham, NC and Los Angeles, CA: National Child Traumatic Stress Network, 2005): 1.
(2) C. Raleigh-DuRoff, "Factors that influence adolescents to leave or stay living on the street," Child and Adolescent Social Work Journal 21(6) (2004): 561-?572.
(3) J. Ensign and M. Bell, "Illness experiences of homeless youth," Qualitative Health Research 14(9) (2004): 1239-1254.
(4) U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Children's Bureau. AFCARS Reports #6-10 (Washington DC: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2005)