Young Adult is a genre for teenagers in that its points in the stories are often reflections of teenagers’ life. The audiences that Young Adult stories are mainly for is them. Young Adult stories are different than other genre in terms of its conventions. Conventions are the setting of characters, development of young characters, and their correlation with contemporary world. In the novel, For the Win, written by Cory Doctorow, we can see the use of Young Adult conventions. He interests young people by describing each individual teenage character’s story and how they come together as a team. Doctorow makes the plot appealing to adolescents by showing how the characters become independent and working with each other.
Throughout the story, the protagonists are all set as teenagers. As in the beginning, each character shows a sense of immaturity in his action or dialogue. “He hated it when adults told him he only felt the way he did because he was young. As if being young was like being insane or drunk, like the convictions he held were hallucinations caused by a mental illness that could only be cured by waiting five years” (Doctorow 48) This phrase is thought by Wei-Dong when his father tried to text him to come home and to discuss over his running away. From his mind, we can see Wei-Dong that at this moment of his age he is lacking the ability to empathize his dad’s action, which is an act of caring for Wei-Dong’s future. His selfishness of caring only himself is a common mind as teenagers. But, as the story goes on, Wei-Dong begins to think for other people. “I’d prefer not to destroy the game. I love it. I love playing all these games. You have my record there, you know it. We all feel that way, all the Webblies. It’s where we go to work every day. We want it to succeed. But we want that to happen on terms that are fair to us” (Doctorow 199). Wei-Dong is able to think for the Webblies as that they are working under unfair conditions. He is willing to stand up for them and to fight for a better term. At this point, Wei-Dong has shown his mental change as teenager. Doctorow wants to tell the young readers that thinking in term of their own feeling is childish. As they experience more events, they will eventually be able to think for other people. They will realize the actions of their parents are for their benefits.
Doctorow gives each protagonist his or her own background and own conflicts for teenagers to connect and then shows how that character can become independent through hard work. Mala is a teenage girl that has a family consists of her mom and younger brother. Her family had difficulty to earn a better living, so they had to move to a new place where they hoped to have a better living. Mala started to play game after she met Yasmin Gardez. Mala discovers her talent in the game as in tactics and leading the clan. She started her army in the game and was doing well. Mala was spotted by a man and to get employed. Her employment brought her family a huge change and allowed them to have a better living. “They wouldn’t work for food while she worked for a lakh (a lakh — 100,000 rupees! The whole family lived on 200 rupees a day!) of cash” (Doctorow 17). Mala was able to change the life of the whole family just by using her talent in the game. Her mother didn’t have to work in the recycle factory anymore and can look for a better job. Through the life of Mala, Doctorow wants to tell the readers that they can make a difference in their life by working on their talent.
Doctorow describes how the characters were able to work together to challenge the unfairness of their society. As in the story, they participated in the IWWWW (Industrial Workers of the World Wide Web) to fight against the Coca-Cola Games Command Central for the unbalanced game economy. They were able to make bargain with the company and make the game economy better off to them. “And if we don’t give in on this, we’re going to spend the next hundred years chasing Chinese and Indian kids around gamespace instead of devoting our energy to fighting real ripoffs and hacker creeps. Security is always about choosing your battles. Every complex ecosystem has parasites. You’ve got ten times more bacteria cells than blood cells in your body. The trick with parasites is to figure out how to co-exist with them” (Doctorow 202). The company was forced to compromise because of their toughness. Similarly, Doctorow is transmitting a message to the readers that they are also a part of the world and they can make a difference with their actions. They have the ability to change the world.
Doctorow portrays young adults well in his novel For the Win. The novel talks about teenagers’ life, their growth as in mentally and physically, and their adventure as they work together and make a difference in their life. It not only brings interest to the young readers but also convey the messages that the authors want teenagers to know. It is definitely a well written as a Young Adult science fiction novel.