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I used to heavily mock adults who read “kid” books. What does someone in their twenties and thirties get out of a book that has nothing to do with them. I figured they were just trying to go back to what they considered their good old days. I read literature, why would I go to a book that would not help expand my mind.
Then I remember getting awfully sick. I was staying at my parents so they could watch my little one while I died and my sister came over with a goodie bag for me. In amongst the gossip mags and soda were the first four books in the Harry Potter series. I figured she gave them to me as they would be super easy reads and wouldn’t tax my poor addled brain.
Upon finishing them I was in awe. These were stories for kids, and they were so freaking good! I took a trip to my local book store and inquired where I could find the next in the series. And my little heart broke when I found out I couldn’t get it for two more years.
But, other than HP, I wasn’t interested in other books meant for younger readers. I figured that HP had to be a one off and that the books I remember reading when I was a teen that were geared for teens were pretty awful. I went on like that for a few more years, devouring each new HP and disdaining all other books written for a younger demographic.
Then when I was thirty I met a new girl at work and we really clicked. She was also a huge reader and we could happily spend hours in the same room not speaking and just reading near each other. (Seven years later we still do that.) We traded books back and forth all the time and she was very into YA paranormal. I had always secretly enjoyed paranormal romances and wanted to see what she saw in her books. She started me on the Vampire Academy series and again I was super impressed with the level of detail in the books. From there I kept adding YA paranormal to my reading list. The Hush Hush series, Mortal Instruments, House of Night, and more started finding places on my book shelves. Eventually I started to branch out to non-Paranormal YA books. Rainbow Rowell and John Green were read and If I Stay was passed around to everyone I knew.
The worlds built in YA currently surpass what I see when I read “adult” books. The emotional arcs are more powerful and the characters tend to be very well developed. Now YA is not perfect, the absent and or unconcerned parent, insta-love and more follow through YA. But there are things that I see constantly in other books that drive me nuts too, like the breaking up over what someone else told you that is rampant in romance type books.
So I totally admit that I was wrong and I am glad I have had a chance to read such fantastic books the last few years.
Now when I see teens reading books I love I want to talk to them about the story but feel like that may be a step too far.
So tell me, what do you read YA? Why or why not?
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