Wednesday, 15 April 2009

YA = Adult Goodliness

A few days ago I posted all the reasons why being an adult reader of YA could be problematic. In the aim of not sounding like a total sookie-la-la, here are the positives...

Money - Yes, I have a full time job and thus have the funds to buy books that I want. Sure I have to curb the need to buy everything that comes into my sphere but I do have the ability to buy books that I wouldn't have been able to afford as a Baker's Delight salesgirl back in the day.

My job - I am an English teacher and thus can hit thirty students at one time with my passion for books. Teachers who are passionate about reading tend to encourage students to be passionate about reading - that's just a fact. Through my YA blogging, I have been introduced to and thus recommended awesome books that really appeal to my grade eights and might allow me to be regarded as cool. Case and point - we are studying The Hunger Games in the upcoming term - I will be officially cool from then on. So to summarise, bloggers have made me cool in my student's eyes - I am eternally grateful!

The teen experience - My own teen experience was quite uneventful but I am able to relive it through books. Whether becoming the third Fate (Jennifer Lynn Barnes' Tattoo / Fate), having a spectacular crush (Sarah Dessen's Just Listen), going on crazy adventures (John Green's Paper Towns) or attending a wizardry school (d'uh), I have reinvented my own teen life.
Though I have also been able to experience aspects of life that I was lucky to avoid - rape (Laurie Halse Anderson's Speak), physical abuse (Sarah Dessen's Dreamland) and death (Gayle Forman's If I Stay).

It's the common assumption that YA is fluff that irrits me beyond belief because 1) it isn't and 2) what they perceive as fluff is usually painstakingly plotted, intricately characterised, narrative feats of amazingness. Just because there is a tendancy to use pink in the cover art (thankfully this is dying out) doesn't mean it doesn't have value.

The point is YA books might feature a teen protagonist, but their stories are universal - age, sex, race, culture or religion. They unite us in our commonalities and allow us to sneak a peek at our differences.

Blogging - I was concerned that I might be considered a 'grandma' in the blogging community. I am 27 but it sometimes occurs to me that I am double the age of some of you. That's frightening. But...the recommendations, the honesty, the laughter and the utter silliness of my interactions with many of you remove any fears I did possessed. I don't think anyone treats me like an adult or that I treat anyone of my fellow bloggers as teens. They are just labels after all. We treat each others as equals. We support one another (most of the time), actively assist one another and authors to make sure the best stories are heard, are known and are loved. And that's why YA is awesome - YA books treat readers the same way - blindly. It's about the journey, not the target audience.

Authors - I have been very lucky in terms of my relationships with some authors. In the short time that I have been blogging, I have made four great friends (that happen to be YA authors) from across the globe. They are all in different stages on their careers and are helping to encourage me in my hopes to write. Because of them I am in a writing course. Because of them I am pursuing a passion.

Unlike many of the teen bloggers, I have chosen my profession. I like it a lot but I never felt that I could pursue what I wanted. I don't sense any of you possessing those thoughts of self-limitation and that's inspiring. Through reading and being a part of YA blogosphere I have learn that you can always change course. Don't fear choices because there is always a new one to made. You guys have reintroduced me to optimism. Thank you.

Another plus in dealing with authors is that many other adults don't see YA in the positive light that I do. So I feel I am doing my bit to prove that not all adult readers think that YA is something to be scorned. I am taking a stand against all the douches that cock their head to the side and make weird faces when an author reveals they write YA. Shame on you, adults (that aren't myself or other adult YA bloggers!)

Pop Culture- There is something about the teenage condition that fascinates me. I am still as fixated with the John Hughes movies now as I was when I was eight. Regardless of your age, teenagers are frightening complex and interesting creatures that will fascinate you. When there are no more new teen movies, I can always pull out a YA book and most of the time they are 100% better. Sometimes I feel that YA, especially rom-coms, are fuelling my continual need to be John Hughes-ized.

There are many more but I didn't want this to become a gush-fest. Thanks for the warm welcome into YAverse. You have introduced me to authors and genres I would never have heard of or tried before and for that I am eternally grateful. Cheers.


Alea said...

This was great Adele! And really if anyone's a grandma it's me... and not because of my age. LOL!

Alley Tee said...

You make a great case for yourself.

I think this is great, please don't go anywhere!

Your blog is much appreciated :)

Nancy said...

Well said Adele. I am also an adult who btw is older than you and I adore YA. I hate it when people assume that YA is pure fluff and that those reading it and not of what they consider the YA market, should not be reading it.

I have been reading for years and I became reaquainted with YA due to my godchild and yes, Twilight. It has been several years since I read twilight, but my love for YA lit has only grown strongs. YA novels are really amazing and they has made such strides, addressing all issues known to man, woman, child, vampire, werewolf, ghost, zombie...and the list goes on and on.

Basically...I love my YA books and that will never change

Steph Su said...

Hear, hear! I love that you're teaching your students The Hunger Games, as teaching YA to students is something I'd like to do when I go into teaching one day in the *gulp* very near future. I'd love to see how that goes for you. Please do blog about it!

Tina said...

I'm loving YA and I'm 30! I was introduced through Twilight. I read mostly YA at the moment and I'm really enjoying it.

Steph Bowe said...

Fantastic - great post.

This is for you -

Steph Bowe said...

Fantastic - great post.

This is for you -

Steph Bowe said...

Fantastic - great post.

This is for you -

Natalie Hatch said...

It's coz we're all soo wonderful. LOL. Young Adult is concerned with finding out who you are, journeying through life without the heavy notions of propriety and unrealistic ideals that as adults we sometimes place upon ourselves. I love writing YA because the story tells itself, it's not high literature that will receive copious awards, they're stories that help my teens face life, and if I can help one teen, then all the rejection slips and sore fingers are worth it.

Elizabeth said...

Hey, what do you have against pink?

(...Just kidding!)

Lenore Appelhans said...

The money aspect is nice isn't it? I love having a job and being able to buy whatever books I want!! Plus YA hardcovers are cheaper than their adult counterparts.

Luisa at Chicklish said...

Brilliant post - I love it!

And I'm also an adult, and also older than you. :)

H said...

This is great! I thought age would be more of an issue in blog-land, but it doesn't seem to be at all.

GreenBeanTeenQueen said...

I love this post! I love being an advocate for the wonders of YA! And I hope being a 27-year-old blogger doesn't make you a grandma-I'm turning 27 this year!:)

susan said...

I'm almost old enough to be your mother (my daughter is 24) and I'm definitely old enough to be teen bloggers' parent.

Besides Steph, I think I blew getting warm fuzzies among teen bloggers but I love the genre and I am genuinely interested in what teens are reading and think. I have learned a lot.

I've opted to say less because honestly it's easier and two I think it might be weird having me around. I'm not a warm and gushy person. Too often I come off strident or dry.

Anyhoo, I really enjoy your blog and as someone who is passionate about literacy and reading, I'm a huge advocate for YA lit. I read mostly realistic YA fiction so I know that adults who think YA is all fluff simply have bothered to explore the genre.

Anonymous said...

Great blog! I just finished reading Kate Welshman's book "Posse". Hopefully the YA readers will grab it with both hands and read it, it really is a refreshing addition to the genre. loved it? dah!