I've read a lot of Young Adult books in the last 10 years. I've always enjoyed reading, but once I picked up Harry Potter in college (much later than many of my friends), then discovered The Hunger Games a few years later, it was a slippery slope into the YA publishing world. I couldn't wait to find the next exciting series. One thing I love about YA books is that they're often fast-paced adventures with a "happily ever after" ending; easy to enjoy and digest - "like candy"- one of my friends recently described. YA fiction is about wizards, heroines, courage, mythologies, mysteries, adversity, fairy tales, romance, war -- such an array of subjects, it's likely, no matter your mood, you can always find something to read. In fact, with all the variety, it's like YA publishers are encouraging us to be fickle. Go ahead, choose a mythological tale, but if you hate it there's this awesome space adventure in the next aisle, oh but when you're done with that you should really try this romance, and when you're tired of that you can try THIS mythological tale! If Young Adult literature was a Choose Your Own Adventure (click on link if born after 1990) it would be the book that never stopped giving.
I'm an adult (I think being 30 places me clearly out of the target demographic), but I'm no less capable of enjoying YA stories. That's another great thing about these books -- their mass appeal. However, the more I'm exposed to YA literature, the more I've asked "Would I let my teenager read this?" Granted, my daughter is only 3. You think about these things when you have a 3 year old daughter. But I also know many other parents overwhelmed by the enormous YA market, wondering how they're supposed to know if a YA book is actually appropriate for their teen. YA books can have dark, violent, and sexual themes that seem too mature for a 13 year old (That's assuming only 13 and older teens are reading these books; many advanced young readers (8-11yrs) are perusing the YA shelves too), but then what's the appropriate age? Maybe anything's permissible under the right supervision? I explore this question for each book I review.
I hope this blog will encourage you to pick up a new book, or steer you clear of something not worth your time. If you're a parent, maybe you can suggest a book I review to your teenager and read through it together.
Whatever reason brought you here, I'd love to hear your thoughts! Please feel free to comment and share your enthusiasm, positive or negative. Come on, let's be a little fickle.