First, before I really get on my YA soapbox here, I wanted to say how excited I am to be returning to Stumbly.
After I shut down Stumbly in 2016, I started up a few other blogs that I felt passionate about, but the passion didn’t last. I quickly realized that Stumbly was great because I could talk about literally any topic that caught my eye. Because I’m no longer in college (sad but adult truth) my posts will start evolving into topics that are related to weathering the storm that is life for a millennial woman. Which means there’s a whole lotta shit to talk about. Let’s get started:
At the library the other day, I realized I was embarrassed when I had to ask a worker where a certain book was.
The reason for my embarrassment? It was a popular young adult fiction novel that I couldn’t find on the shelves and something about me asking a grown man where “Traitor to the Throne” was just made me feel…weird. Like I should have been asking for a grown-up book like War and Peace or something. (Side note: I tried to read War and Peace once. It didn’t go well.)
But then I told myself, no, Cailin. You’re a staunch believer in the power of reading and it doesn’t matter what you choose to read, judgy people can suck it.
I may feel silly sometimes when I go to the checkout counter carrying a pile of everything from “The Selection Series” to “The Maze Runner”, but I’ll never actually stop reading them. Here’s why:
There’s something about YA fiction that other books geared toward a more mature audience don’t have. And please don’t think that I haven’t worked my way through a fair amount of adult literature because I have. I appreciate the classics, in fact, Jane Eyre is one of my favorite books. I’ve made quite a headway into the adult fantasy and science fiction section and I rather enjoy looking for fun, helpful non-fiction stuff. You know, the funny self-help books that all like to have some version of ‘fuck that’ in the title. I will even go so far as to admit that I am familiar with about 3/4 of the paranormal romance authors out there and that my obsession with a certain series made me join a Facebook group about it. (Karen Marie Moning Fever series shoutout!) Turns out the main audience for the series is horny middle-aged ladies. (So, I guess that’s my future.)
BUT. I’ve always found that YA has a sense of growth and adventure about them that I just haven’t found in many ‘adult’ novels. I can’t be sure, but I imagine part of that might be because many adult novels are thrown into very distinct categories, many of times which really limit an author’s imagination. (Is it a paranormal romance, a mystery, a historical fiction?) YA, if you’ve noticed, tends to overlap categories.
Another part is that YA is marketed to duh, young adults, which means that many of the novels tend to focus on themes of personal growth, trying new adventures, discovering identities, etc. There’s something very fresh and endearing about that. I think YA is so popular because something in us is drawn to stories of growth and adventure. In fact, many of my favorite adult novels share similar themes with YA.
I lastly want to point out that people who say that YA is ‘weak writing,’ or doesn’t have enough ‘bite’ have not read enough of it, in my opinion. Yes, there is some crap on the YA shelves and it is sad but there is crap on other shelves as well. But I’ve overwhelmingly found that YA authors don’t write YA because they can’t write anything else. Many of these authors write beautifully elegant stories, stories that put you on the edge of your seat, stories that make you cry on your couch at 2 in the morning.
We all must learn to appreciate beautiful writing when we see it and realize that it doesn’t matter what you read, so long as you do.
Thanks for reading! I am so excited/nervous for next week’s post, so I hope you come back to check it out!
If you’re a fellow YA junkie, here’s a list of some of my personal favorites that you might enjoy:
The Selection series by Kiera Cass
Rebel of the Sands series by Alwyn Hamilton
An Ember in the Ashes series by Sabaa Tahir
Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas
A Court of Thorns and Roses series also by Sarah J. Mass
Red Queen series by Victoria Aveyard
The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh
Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge