Why I Read YA Fiction

I love YA

If you’ve been on social media the past week you may have seen lots of hashtags that include ANYTHING related to The Fault in Our Stars and John Green.  Seriously, if you don’t know what I’m talking about you’ve really gone off the grid.

Amidst all the talk and excitement around the popular contemporary YA novel and it’s movie adaptation, someone decided to drop their opinion on everyone.

According to this person at slate.com, who I’m not naming, but feel free to go to her article and see her elaborate on how she’s better than everyone else for reading adult fiction.  Not surprisingly, she was met with a town full of adult YA lovers brandishing pick forks ready to chase her off the internet.

Here’s a direct quote from the article:

“Fellow grown-ups, at the risk of sounding snobbish and joyless and old, we are better than this.”

WHOA.  Okay, you risked it and yes.  Yes, you sound joyless and old.  My first question is, better than what?  Last time I checked, fiction reading is done for pleasure.  With that being said, who are you to decide what someone should be embarrassed about?

If one is picking up fiction for pleasure, my guess is that they are looking for a form of escapism.  A way to be transported to a different world, feel different emotions, see things from someone else’s eyes.  Just because something is written and placed in a certain genre does not mean it has to be exclusively read by the members of said genre.

The slate writer did touch on escapism and saying that there’s “room for it” and then jumped back to how teenagers may never graduate from YA fiction because all the adults are reading it.  Also, how excited she was to graduate to the adult stacks as a teenager.

Here’s where you’re wrong lady…

OF COURSE teenagers are going to be excited about reading an adult book because most teenagers are learning how to navigate their lives and are curious about a wide array of emotions and what it’s like to be an adult.  I would be surprised if a teenager never wanted to read an adult book.  Generally, readers are a curious bunch.  As we grow up and new layers of complexity arise in our lives, we naturally seek out more mature material to read and watch.  If you have a teenager that loves to read, I am going to take a wild stab in the dark: you have a smart kid who can and will pick up adult fiction at some point.

Now, I need to get back to the root of the article and the writer’s main point:  Adults should be embarrassed to read YA fiction.

I’m going to take this backwards from what I just said about teenagers.  Yes, as teenagers get older they seek out more mature material.  As an adult, I am wholly aware of adulthood.  No, I have not experienced all the benchmarks of adulthood such as marriage and babies but I have been slapped in the face by reality enough times to understand adulthood and feel the full weight of responsibility.  Here’s where my love of young adult fiction comes into play.

When I read YA or children’s literature I am reminded that to see the world through a child’s eyes is to remember that there is hope.  There is uncharted territory.  There are dreams to be made and a heart that is bursting with optimism.  As adults, we become jaded to new feelings and even push things away that may cause emotion.  When I am reading through a teenage narrator I am seeing things differently.  The slate writer would say that an adult should snicker at the trappings of a YA novel.  But the truth is that we must never forget what it feels like to be a kid and it feels good to remember things when they were so innocent and fresh and new.

Eventually we must all grow up, but that doesn’t mean we have to lose all hope and stop believing in dreams. I am not embarrassed to read fiction written for children and neither should you.

It doesn’t matter what you are reading.  It could be romance, horror, erotic fiction or the latest literary masterpiece.  Read what you want with pride AT EVERY AGE.

If anyone else has anything negative to say about adults reading children books I only have one thing to say:

Harry Potter.

 

Bingeing on ‘The Here and Now’ by Ann Brashares

 

Pub Date: April 8th, 2014

Description:

An unforgettable epic romantic thriller about a girl from the future who might be able to save the world . . . if she lets go of the one thing she’s found to hold on to.

Follow the rules. Remember what happened. Never fall in love.

This is the story of seventeen-year-old Prenna James, who immigrated to New York when she was twelve. Except Prenna didn’t come from a different country. She came from a different time—a future where a mosquito-borne illness has mutated into a pandemic, killing millions and leaving the world in ruins.

Prenna and the others who escaped to the present day must follow a strict set of rules: never reveal where they’re from, never interfere with history, and never, ever be intimate with anyone outside their community. Prenna does as she’s told, believing she can help prevent the plague that will one day ravage the earth.

But everything changes when Prenna falls for Ethan Jarves.

From Ann Brashares, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series, The Here and Now is thrilling, exhilarating, haunting, and heartbreaking—and a must-read novel of the year.

 

First off:  How legit is this cover?  Seriously, everything is working really well for me on this one.  The holographic type colors, the half sad face..I’m really digging it.  I’m also thinking it will catch a lot of eyes on the bookshelves.  Well done.

Secondly, I took a leap of face on this one because Ann Brashares is the author of The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants.  I have a really hard time with science fiction.  My brain has a hard time processing time travel.  It’s pretty much just waiting patiently for the next romantical scene.  My brain enjoys teenage romance.  I know..creeper status.

I have very mixed feelings about this story.  I started off being really into it and really excited for where it was going.  The unrequited love was really working for me.  Prenna and Ethan had some GREAT tension going on.  This may be my favorite paragraph/line from the whole book:

I don’t lie to Ethan, but I don’t tell him the truth either.  I can’y.  To share anything with him, even if I could, would put him in an impossible place.  Already he is the drip, drip of water that carves a canyon right through the middle of me.

There’s no doubt that Ann is an extremely talented writer.  I really felt the emotion in this story.  The tragedy and the sadness.  But the thing that really threw me is the fact that I just didn’t understand a lot of what was going on.  There would be this terrific line and then in the next paragraph I would be lost because we were talking about time travel again.

If there was a sequel, I would give it a try.  Solely based on the fact that I really liked the relationship between Prenna and Ethan.  But if you aren’t a fan of time travel/science fiction I don’t know if this is the story for you.

I give it 3 out of 5 stars!