Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Putting the 'A' in YA

I read young adult paranormal fantasy novels...and I LOVE them! Yes, there I said it! I like to read books written for people 15 years younger than I am. I have been trying to pretend like I only read them for easy reading options. That is true, but the bigger truth is that I love the story lines, I love the writing, I get sucked into the sucky emotional angst of teenage life. Oh yes, yes I do and I gobble up all the woe and heartache and go back for seconds, thirds and fourths if they are available. Reading YA urban fantasy novels for me is like being able to sit down to a Thanksgiving dinner smorgasbord every night of the week. I love it! There I said it. I think that there is something very validating in reading the YA novels, it's not about wishing I was young, though I would be lying to myself if I didn't occasionally say to myself, "damn, I wish I had been that much of a bad ass at 17" but seriously there are very few bad ass 17 year old girls. Most of us are or were so totally absorbed in whatever personal drama we had created or imagined or imagined and then created that we didn't have time to be that bad ass. It's a little bit about reminiscing about the emotional angst and turmoil, it's a little bit about staying in touch with the fires and passions that meant so much, it's a little bit about reading a great romance book and having enough left to the imagination that the relationship tension in the book is palpable as I read. I think there is a little bit that is about being able to read about the stupid decisions that characters make, remembering the stupid choices that I made and reflecting on how those experiences made me a better person.

I run into people who will haughtily pronounce that "they do not read YA novels," and they say it with such superiority that I have to wonder if they aren't secretly hiding stacks of YA vampire novels under their bed. It's not a bad thing to read YA novels and I suspect, actually I think I know that there is a large and very proud population of readers that troll the YA section of library looking for the next Richelle Meade novel, wonder if Stephanie Meyer will come out with something new, put their name first on the hold list for the last book in Alyson Noel's Immortal's series, are counting down the minutes until they can download City of Fallen Angels by Clarissa Clare, are excited when Amanda Hocking produces a new eBook. They are wondering if the next YA urban fantasy novel that they pick up will satisfy their craving for the fantasy and drama the way that the Vampire Academy Series did or keep them up reading til 5 am the way that Harry Potter did.

I read the mature adult reading too, and when the adult books are good they are amazing, but I have a special place in my heart for the YA novel and I think it has a little to do with a lot of things, but primarily I think it's often a reminder that I don't ever want to be a teenager again. But there were good things about being a young adult and reading YA novels is a safe way to stay in touch with that passion and youth while still being mostly sane grown up me.

I know you're out there, you adult YA readers...don't be shy hold your Richelle Meade and Clarissa Clare novels up high! Read proudly and don't forget to sleep every so often!

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