Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Why YA?

I read a great explanation of why adults read YA (young adult literature) at Anna Reads earlier this week, and while I agree with her assessment that YA makes readers, young and old, feel like they belong, I wanted to offer my own explanation of why I read YA.  I can sum it up in one word:


Unlike most adult novels (most notably Jodi Picoult's The Pact and my current read Don't Cry: Stories by Mary Gaitskill), young adult novels show readers that even in the most dire of circumstances, there is hope.  The characters display a resilience that is remarkable.  The stories are an inspiration to keep moving and keep faith that things will get better.

A few of my most meaningful picks are as follows:    

Hold Still by Nina LaCour
Speak by Laurie Anderson
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling

All is not well in these worlds, but there is a continual desire to overcome one's circumstances and commit to life.  This is why I read YA.  Because no matter how bad the world around me is, no matter how depressed I get when watching the news or hearing the stories my students tell me or seeing friends and family suffer over circumstances outside of their control, I am reminded that there is hope, and that promise is enough to keep me going.

1 comment:

  1. Great post! I agree completely. I haven't really thought about it in these terms before, but it makes a lot of sense. A degree of optimism that things will (and can) get better, even if its not in the ways you think, is always important.