Today I thought I’d go a little deep by asking myself “Why do I love YA books?” After all, there are tons of genres of books out there to read so why do I gravitate particularly to the YA genre? (For those of you who don’t know, YA stands for “young adult.”)
Like any literary genre, YA also has sub-genres. Such as YA dystopian, YA fantasy, YA contemporary and so on and so forth. I found myself gravitating mostly towards fantasy of any kind, really, but YA the most. There’s a lot of truth that one should read what they wish to write so I write fantasy, meaning I read fantasy.
I recently attended a YA book festival in Texas and many of the authors said this: Teenagers are much smarter than we give them credit for, and personally, there is truth in that. Life is hard as a teenager and they want something as an escape but they’ll also grasp the bigger concepts laid out in a book–the struggles and confusions, the first crushes and first loves, the heartache of losing a family member–and all the things in between. They want revenge, nitty-gritty, but also happy-go-lucky and sweet.
I’ve been reading since I was in elementary school. I’ve always loved reading. I never truly realized my deep love for books until high school, until I read Pride and Prejudice as a assignment in my high school senior English class. I fell so incredibly in love with the book (and the adaptations–hello, Colin Firth! 😉 ) that I became an English major in college, emphasizing in creative writing (I wrote a lot of bad poetry and fanfiction which I won’t dare give you the links for but you can have fun trying to find me on Fanfiction.net or Fictionpress.com 😀 ) that my love for books just grew stronger.
For me, YA is incredibly diverse, and is aiming to be even more diverse. I’m not saying this isn’t the case for other genres, but there’s something incredibly heart-wrenching and heartwarming about teenagers who go through a lot before they turn into an adult. Lately, I’ve seen an emphasis on diverse characters (characters that aren’t white/Caucasian) and I’m excited for that. I grew up reading very few diverse books–I didn’t know any! No books I read in high school featured a half-Korean teenager! But there are now books with Korean main characters (i.e., Jenny Han’s To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before and Maurene Goo’s Since You Asked come to mind)! I know I’m leaving more diverse books out but these speak directly to me so feel free to mention ones you love in the comments!
I’m a quick reader so a lot of YA books are quick reads for me. Not all of them are easy to read it. YA is complex and I think there are an unending amount of subjects that can be touched in the genre when it comes to growing up or just being a teenager especially now!
Did this somehow answer the question I posed? Maybe it did, maybe it didn’t. But one thing I know or sure, I don’t think the YA genre will ever fade away. As long as there are teenagers, there is a great need for YA books. A book doesn’t have to be popular in order to be loved or to have greatly influenced or touched a person.
So now I ask you the question, why do you love YA? Or why do you love the genre you read the most?