Christine, a librarian, forwarded me a link to this article from the NY Times this past weekend: The Kids’ Books Are All Right, by Pamela Paul. Paul takes a look at adults craving the third installment of The Hunger Games, and who seek out YA books in general.
The themes are serious and the discussions intense, but the books are fast-paced and fun. “A lot of contemporary adult literature is characterized by a real distrust of plot,” Grossman said. “I think young adult fiction is one of the few areas of literature right now where storytelling really thrives.”
Y.A. may also pierce the jadedness and cynicism of our adult selves. “When you talk to people about the books that have meant a lot to them, it’s usually books they read when they were younger because the books have this wonder in everyday things that isn’t bogged down by excessively grown-up concerns or the need to be subtle or coy,” explained Jesse Sheidlower, an editor at large at the Oxford English Dictionary and member of Kidlit. “When you read these books as an adult, it tends to bring back the sense of newness and discovery that I tend not to get from adult fiction.”
I’ve long been a fan of YA romance for a number of reasons. First, I think strong emotions are overwhelming at any time, whether you’re an adult or teenager, but YA deals more with the painful management of feelings that you suspect might take you over entirely, and how to figure out relationships with the people causing those emotions. Since, I think, teenagers are pressured more than anyone to remain blasé about just about everything, negotiating internal conflicts that make it hard to remain calm lends a powerful immediacy to a lot of YA literature. Plus, while some folks dislike YA romance because they don’t believe that a happily-ever-after can start in high school, I absolutely know it can. I met Hubby in high school, and while we didn’t get together until after freshman year of college, my angsty-emo-screwed-up teenager self totally had the “Hold all calls, we have a winner” moment at 17. So I know it can happen, and love to read about it when it does.
Lucky me, Christine also forwarded me a link to Forever Young Adult’s list of YA Dealbreakers – the book plots and cover images that will give you the ixnay on the ookbay faster than anything else. I’m with them on “Vampire Kisses” and anything with poetry.
And Crap in a Crockpot I just lost about two hours of my life reading the achives of ForeverYoungAdult. Here, have a list of their most swoonworthy couples in YA, or the New Moon drinking game, or the Flowers in the Attic drinking game, or What Not To Do with YA Covers (OMG YES with the HALF a FACE covers already. Enough!).
YA’s popularity isn’t news, though it’s in the news thanks to the fact that people are absolutely hopping over The Hunger Games conclusion (Did you see that Dear Author is part of the online district tour? Cool!) I have noticed many, many people on the beaches reading both that series, Twilight, and, oddly, Harry Potter as well. I’m always a-hunting for YA romance to read, and love Elizabeth Scott and Jennifer Echols’ books. I also recently read Wildthorn by Jane Eagland, a historical YA novel about a girl who is sent to an asylum for being way too different. It was chilling and powerful – and I still think about it.
In addition to Suzanne Collins’ series, what YA do you absolutely adore right now? And are you as tired of the red-accented half-a-face covers as I am!?