Thursday, February 11, 2010
No Shame In It
My name is Cynthia and I read YA. There, I said it and now you can too. It seems that many adults are ashamed to tell me that they like to read young adult books - I've had more than one adult reader come up to me and quietly tell me how much they liked DIRTY LITTLE SECRETS, hoping that nobody around would overhear what they've been reading.
I'm not a teen. Okay, you can stop laughing now. Full disclosure, I graduated high school in the 1980s. Way back then, we didn't really have anything called YA. We had Judy Blume (I remember reading FOREVER in school with the cover torn off because if they caught you with it, the teachers would take it away), and then we went straight to adult novels. Come on, tell me you didn't read FLOWERS IN THE ATTIC. Kids today are so lucky.
Today's YA books are honest, brutal, funny, fast-paced and romantic. We don't spend three pages talking about the wind whispering through the trees. We don't have time. Our readers want to jump into a story, have it envelop them and live through the characters until they close the last page. Books like TWILIGHT and THE LOVELY BONES have given many adults their first taste of YA writing, and I'm hearing that many of them want more. I can read between the lines when you all ask me about a good YA title for your daughter. Yes (wink wink, nudge, nudge) for your daughter.
Because I'm so entrenched in the world of YA that's pretty much all I read. My nightstand has a towering stack of titles that I'm dying to get to: FLASH BURNOUT by LK Madigan, THE DARK DIVINE by Bree Despain, THE MAZE RUNNER by James Dashner and BEAUTIFUL CREATURES by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl are at the top of the pile. My husband recently took my copy of Scott Westerfeld's LEVIATHAN on a business trip and really enjoyed it. I honestly have no idea what is going on in the world of grown-up books. But I bet they're not having as much fun as we are.
While I adore my teen audience, I hope that many adults read DLS too. I think there is just as much in the story for them as there is for teens. That's what my readers are telling me, albeit in hushed tones. The next time you're in a bookstore, wander over to the Teen or Young Adult section. Take a look at the beautiful covers and read some of the flaps. Steady yourself, because you'll probably be surprised at how many of them you want to read. Go ahead and carry a few up to the cashier and say, just a little too loudly, that you are buying these for your kid.
We won't tell him that your kid is only five.
On this date: In 1990, Nelson Mandela is released from prison.