I didn't always read YA. In fact, I never even gave it a second thought just a few years ago. A friend at the time was one of those people who would read anything you put in front of her. I had a bad case of book-prejudice. Young Adult? Why the heck would I want to read that?! I'm in my twenties and I'm supposed to want to read about teenagers? Pffftt.. yeah, okay.
I now have a YA book blog. Things have clearly changed.
Even though I'd always loved to read, once I hit high school, I didn't really read much more than what my English teachers assigned. Of course I read some of my absolute favorite books during those four years, including The Hobbit, To Kill a Mockingbird, Fahrenheit 451, and The Things They Carried, but I didn't really know who I was as a reader.
College brought more of the same - nothing more than what my English prof's assigned. This did bring about my love of Steinbeck, but I wasn't reading on my own, for pleasure.
And then I moved in with my mom. I never knew my mom was a reader until I stumbled upon her stash of contemporary romance novels. Here I felt that I'd found my niche, buried in the pages of Jude Deveraux, Nora Roberts, Christina Dodd, and Judith McNaught books. That lasted a few years for me, where I read for fun, and stuck mainly to these authors - before branching out to Jennifer Weiner and Phillipa Gregory. But I was losing steam. Fast.
So one day, moseying through the aisles of Barnes & Noble, I found a book whose cover intrigued me. It was black, with two hands holding an apple. Twilight, it was called. My friend told me it was amazing - I should totally get it! But Vampires? Me? No, I couldn't! Could I? I didn't get it. I put it back and got something else instead (Clearly it wasn't amazing, because I don't even know what it was anymore, lol). A few days later I was at Target with my boyfriend. He was off looking at something or other, and I was in the book aisle. I made it halfway down before this cover caught my eye. It was black, with two hands holding an apple. Twilight. It was a sign. Boyfriend found me and started rushing me to hurry up - so I said ok, fine! and grabbed a copy. I started the book that night. I finished it the next day. That was it - I was hooked.
What I think my draw to YA is, is that the main character's are still trying to figure out who they are - where they are going and what they want out of life. It's like bringing me back to time when I was young, and innocent, and had all of the world ahead of me - mine for the taking. It puts you in this place where love is something new, an experience they are going into for maybe the first time. It's a feeling we can all remember, and then when you mix in a vampire, werewolf, or throw you into space, or even a dystopian Earth, etc it just becomes something completely new and different. It's a time before work takes over most of your day, where you are stuck dealing with responsibilities like bills and families. It's a time where we can all sit back and say, what would I have done if I was Bella Swan? If I was Tris Prior?
In closing, I think that YA has brought something new to my life. An outlet, a creativity and an imagination that I maybe was lacking before. It's thrust me into this entirely new world where I can talk to other people online through their blogs, or Goodreads about their love and fascination with YA books. It's fresh, and new, and uninhibited. It's a home, comforting and safe, entertaining and thought provoking. It's mine, as I've made it, and it's what I love.
Why do you love YA?
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