I hear a lot of my friends and colleagues often saying either one of two things:
- I cannot stand Young Adult, it is often poorly written and I just don’t get the point behind some of the stories.
- I absolutely love Young Adult, it is my guilty pleasure reading for when I want something easy.
I am definitely in the “I love YA” camp, I wouldn’t be very good at my job if I didn’t. I don’t however, read it as a guilty pleasure or when I want something easy. I read it because I thoroughly enjoy it. There may be times where I find the pace is very slow, or the writing rather poor (I’m sure there are some adult fiction books out there that this applies to as well), but if the concept of the book or the story is engaging then I will be hooked.
The school that I work at recently had a visit from Shake & Stir and during the Q&A at the end of the performance, one of the students asked “why Shakespeare?” The answer the actors gave I believe can be related to YA. They said that Shakespeare is all to do with the human condition, more specifically human emotion. It’s about taking something, such as love, to the absolute extreme and demonstrating how different people react to it. I believe this to be true of YA.
I could continue to form well structured arguments on how I believe this statement to be true, however after doing some research I have discovered that a few other bloggers and educators have the same opinion. A couple of posts that I thoroughly enjoyed on the topic are:
“Young Adult Fiction and the Human Condition” by Taryn Rombough, featured on Canyafiction
“Young Adult Fiction: An acknowledgement of the price and pain of growing up” by Damon, featured on The WTM Blog.
I have suggested to a few of my friends that feel the need to justify their enjoyment of YA that they read the above two posts, and a few others, to help them to realize that there is nothing wrong with enjoying YA. It does not mean that you are not a great reader, or that you do not appreciate what some people refer to as “literary works,” but that you enjoy the themes, the subjects,and the emotions in YA, and that there is nothing wrong with that!