Wednesday, January 11, 2012

YA Lit

To kind of piggyback off of my post from Monday, I wanted to write about how much I wish I had YA when I was younger.  But steph, you're only 25; what do you mean?  Yes, I know, but no one had ever told me about them and when I was in high school I had a hard time finding books I liked to read.  When I in elementary and middle school, I read a ton of Babysitters club books (especially the mysteries; they were my fave!) and some Nancy Drew.  My mom would tell me to try some more "grown-up" books but I couldn't find anything else interesting to me.  I dabbled in Agatha Christie but they were too adult as mysteries for me.  I remember my mom recommending Catcher in the Rye and A Separate Peace for me, kind-of the only YA books at the time, that she knew of.  (Hated ASP but liked CitR, and then had to read them over again the next year for English class.  I remember complaining to my mom that I had to read ASP over again and I still haven't let her live that down, lol).  I tried reading Catch-22 and Fahrenheit 451, two books that were good, but didn't peak my interest enough to make time to read for leisure, since high school was already incredibly busy.  I remember going into the library and not being able to find a book I wanted to read.  Yeah I know; crazy I couldn't find a book in a library...

I remember reading Ender's Game and loving it.  When HP came out, it was amazing.  But I couldn't find much else.  My high-school years were spent playing sports and music with the occasional book thrown in.  Maybe I had trouble finding books because I like fantasy/mysteries better than contemporary, and couldn't really find that in YA.  (There still aren't a lot of mysteries in YA).  In college, I only read during the summer, but still couldn't find a lot of books.  I read the Ender's Game/Ender's Shadow sequels but they were teetering on adult.  Same with Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.

I think the first YA book I read was the Uglies series by Scott Westerfeld.  And woah.  I. was. blown. away.  The world-building was amazing and I finally got that fantasy world that I so wanted!  I scarfed the rest of the series and then anything else I could find by him.  Then I started to look on the same shelves he was placed on.  I was like, what is this?  A gold mine?  Suddenly, at 20 years old, I came out of the library, my arms brimming with YA books.  Why had no one told me about this section before?  I wish I would have discovered it earlier, because it would have given me so much more time to read all these fantastic books.  Now, I think, I have 140 TBR books on my list and 95% are YA.  My mom still tells me to read more "grown-up books", but since I look like I'm 17, I think it's okay to still read YA.  (Plus I would read them even if I didn't look 17, because these books are good).

My point is, I didn't read that much in my late teens, because I didn't like "the classics" or "adult" books.  How is not reading that helpful to anyone?  Reading gives you experiences that you might not have otherwise, teaches you what to do in certain situations, gives you a world to fall into when you need a retreat.  Just because they aren't the classics, doesn't mean they can't teach lessons, morals or life experiences.  They probably teach them better than the classics, because young adults are reading them and understanding them.  I love YA.  I think we should be giving praise, instead of belittling.

ps.  I will be out of town playing Ultimate frisbee for the long weekend, which I'm making longer, so I won't be back til next Thursday.  'Til then!


  1. Love this post - I can totally relate to that wish. I wish , I wish that YA had existed when I was a teenager. I devoured books voraciously when I was a kid and that was tough to do since I grew up in Samoa where getting hold of books was extremely difficult. But I wish YA had been around back then. ( Im waaaay older than you are Stessa so believe me, there were NO YA bks around back then, lol) Its such a joy for me now to see my two teenagers reading YA and to be able to read with them and share books. Love it. Im making up for lost time.

  2. I totally agree that EVERY book teaches you things! And if you are reading the kinds of books that you really enjoy reading, you'll read lots more than if you are reading something just because it is a classic and you feel like you should. I love YA, too. A lot.

  3. Hi Lani! I totally agree; I'm def making up for lost time! It's so awesome that there is a YA shelf for young people to read and to see how awesome books are.

    Hi Peggy! I'm glad that there are a bunch of us out there willing to stand up for YA. It's so important to just get kids reading and I know a lot won't read the classics.

    Thanks to you both for stopping by and for your thoughts about how awesome YA is! YA Rocks!