Well hello, my lovelies! I feel like every holiday possible falls this week (it’s also Teacher Appreciation Week, which I am all about because it means the PTO brings in massive amounts of free food), but I’m really excited about #IreadYA week. (Maybe not *quite* as excited as I am about the free food, though.)
In case you’ve never heard of #IreadYA week, here’s an article talking about the background of it. It’s basically Scholastic’s way of celebrating Young Adult lit, no matter what age you are. I’m all about that, considering I’m in my 20s and reading more YA now than I did as a teenager.
So to kick off #IreadYA week, I thought I’d give you a few reasons why I think YA is awesome.
The subject matter is universal.
No matter how old I get, I still feel the same as these teenagers. I still worry about doing things that would make my parents proud. I still have arguments with my friends. I still don’t know what to say to guys without sounding like an idiot. Sure, it may not take place in the halls of a high school anymore, but the emotions and the feels are still the same. And it’s nice to not feel so alone in that respect. I mean, I am every Sarah Dessen character in some way. I am Hermione Granger, wishing that others valued education as much as I do. I am Mia from If I Stay, trying to make tough decisions with my life.
The thrill of finding that first love never gets old.
My favorite part of any YA book I read (with a love interest, that is) is that moment where the couple begins falling for each other. That tension, that increased heart rate and tingles just beneath their skin. It’s magical. And really good writers make you fall in love with their characters as though you’re part of the couple. Years after reading the books, I am still in love with Henry from The Goddess Test and Dimitri from Vampire Academy. It hasn’t faded, and I don’t think that it will.
Thrills, scares, and danger
I’ve read books outside of the YA genre, and none of them really capture emotions the same way YA does, especially when it comes to the thrills and danger in dystopian stories. Sure, Stephen King can pack a nasty horror punch, but I haven’t read too many other books that can match the danger of being in the Hunger Games or the level of terror in a fearscape in Divergent. They’re amazing and gripping.
The writers are spectacular–on and off the page.
These writers truly care about their readers. I follow a lot of authors on Twitter and there are so many times I see them posting little encouraging things to their readers–and that’s only the tip of the iceberg as to what they do for readers. Sometimes, they write books to highlight tough issues teens are too afraid to talk about (Laurie Halse Anderson’s Speak comes to mind) and sometimes they write about the past in hopes that teens will learn from these events (Ruta Sepetys’s Between Shades of Gray is a great example). They talk to their audience and get to know their readers. I mean, without Esther, would we have had The Fault in Our Stars?
The emphasis is on being real–not on being “literary”
I actually hate that heading because it devalues YA, but I don’t know how else to say it. Adult fiction tends to be wordy, describing the color and shape of the pattern on someone’s wallpaper for two pages even though it doesn’t matter in the slightest to the story. It’s ridiculously slow. And I always get the impression that adult fiction has this emphasis on being the next literary masterpiece, the next Dickens or Bronte. There’s nothing wrong with that, per se, but then they become the books that no one reads or understands, but claims it was “visionary” or whatever else makes them sound pretentious. There’s no connection to the story. YA is about connecting with the characters, going on an adventure, breaking hearts and getting lost, having hope and discovering what you’re really made of. And by far, that’s what I would rather have out of a story than a so-called “literary masterpiece”.