I understand this week is I Read YA Week (May 19-23). I read YA every week so I'm not sure we need a 'week' to proclaim our love for this particular category. I do remember the naysayers who have written their opinion pieces on why adults shouldn't be wasting time with YA books. Really? Who said one person's opinion is better than another's? I've also heard my two daughters complain about some teachers in their high school lambasting YA books and how teens should be reading 'better' (translation: adult) books, that the YA category isn't good or that adults shouldn't reading teen books. One is entitled to one's opinion. I think the classroom isn't the right place for sharing personal (biased) opinions.
One thing is certain: there are certainly a lot of negative people spewing their negative thoughts around. Controversy makes the headlines. All I say is let them talk and I'll keep my nose in a book, which is oftentimes a YA novel.
I don't need other people on their pulpits of computer screens hiding behind fonts and bait-tackling headlines telling me what I should or should not be reading. My business is exactly that--mine. If I want to read about teens, I will. I recently finished Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen and reread The Truth About Forever by the same author. I love her books. Yes, I'm an adult and I will proudly proclaim my love of all things YA. Should I repeat that?
I'm an adult and I will proudly proclaim my love of all things YA.
When I first started pursuing my love of writing, I read that newbie writers should read at least 100 books in the genre they want to write in. I did and never stopped. My library account keeps a record all of my rentals. So does my Amazon account which lists all of my purchases (paper and eBook). I also make sure to pick up a book or two whenever I head up to Oblong Books in Rhinebeck to attend a Hudson Valley YA Society event (which I did last Sunday when I went with my two daughters to see Sarah Dessen).
Why do I read YA? Hmm, easy one. There are numerous answers. I enjoy recapturing those special feelings from my youth. There's something special about one's 'first' crush or kiss or sexual awakening/experience. Let's not forget the power of the word. There are SO many kick ass books out there from gritty contemporaries to fantasy to paranormal and more. I wish this category existed when I was a kid with a well-worn library card who had to begin hitting the adult fiction shelves to feed my fix of books. I also lived in my local bookstores, not that I had much money to spend, but it was fun just to be among so many books. I felt like Golem wanting to rub every cover while saying "Precious!" My favorite books growing up were by Judy Blume. Margaret, Deenie, her characters remain an important part of my youth right next to girls like Anne of Green Gables and Little Women. As an adult I was blown away by Meg Cabot's fun Mediator series, Richelle Mead's Vampire Academy series, City of Bones by Cassandra Clare and so much more, Today, there are so many titles and genres to chose from. I can't pick one special book (though the Harry Potter series is up there high on my list) and I wouldn't want to.
What does drive me crazy about being an adult who loves to read YA are some of the looks I receive at book signings or at conferences from other adults. Why? Why do I need to justify my reading preferences to others? Can't I act like a fan girl over an author who's books I adored? Does adulthood mean one becomes lifeless and boring? I hope not. Why do people have to readily pass on their stigmas to others? Just because one person might be closed minded and think all YA books are just for kids doesn't mean that individual should pass judgment on others. It's 2015 people. Our decisions should be based upon one criteria: freedom of choice. We should be free to love who we want and read what we want. I don't need a week, I read YA all the time, but having a special week is also nice so let's go celebrate!