Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Why I Love YA Lit

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see all the pretties.
In case you haven't heard, something super-awesome went down on the interwebs last week. Beth Revis, author of the Across the Universe series, decided to celebrate young adult lit. Anytime someone decides to celebrate YA, it's awesome, but Ms. Beth went further. Way further. She's giving away fifty signed YA books. Let me repeat that.

She is giving away FIFTY SIGNED YA BOOKS.

And what must one do to enter? Share the YA love. This isn't about boosting blog traffic or raising awareness of her own books (though I'm sure that'll happen, too). You can tweet or share on Tumblr or whatever, but the big entry is writing a blog post about why you love YA. I, for one, am happy to oblige.

It's no secret that I love reading young adult books. I've dedicated my entire blog to the category. (Not genre. YA is not a genre. Don't make me hurt you.) But why? I'm an adult! Shouldn't I be reading adult things?

I'm so glad you asked. Here are five reasons why I love YA.

5. YA is clean(er). I'm pretty picky about what I read. Maybe not as picky as I used to be, and probably not as picky as I should be, but I'm still pretty picky. I can only take so much language, gratuitous violence, or stupidity. And oh boy, a sex scene can ruin a book for me. Now, I'm not saying YA doesn't have that stuff. It does. But I know when I pick up a YA book that the odds that I'll be smacked upside the head with nastiness is lower than if I picked up a "grownup" book. I know this point may not matter to most people, but it matters to me.

4.  I can relate. Well, not always. Sometimes the fifteen-year-old chicks stressing about their latest crush can be a bit beyond my grasp, but on the whole, I get YA characters. They want adventure, I want adventure. They're trying to figure out life, I'm trying to figure out life. They want to find out that they're not average but really The Chosen One who is destined to do great things! I want to figure out what I'm supposed to do and do it extremely well. Close enough, right? I certainly relate better than I do to the protagonists in "grownup" books. (Kids? Marriage? Divorce? Mortgages? No thank you.)

3. One word: hybrids. I'm hoping to talk about hybrids in YA more fully at a later date, but the basic idea is that YA is full of books that aren't one straight genre. The article I just linked to talks about several different kinds of mashups, from high concept sci-fi + romance to zombie apocalypse + historical fiction to paranormal + humor. And retellings. There are a LOT of retellings. I love the zany ways YA is mutating, to borrow another description from the article. I want to be surprised. I want to be intrigued. The same ol' same ol' isn't going to cut it.

2. The YA community is awesome. Really, really awesome. I'm not saying other communities aren't, but the majority of those involved in YA, from bloggers to agents to writers, seem to truly understand that this isn't a competition. When a new book comes out, Twitter explodes with celebratory tweets from other authors, even those with other publishing houses. Agents and editors hype their own clients' works, but they cheer on others as well. And in the middle of it all is little ol' me, getting to rub elbows with some of the coolest people. And they don't mind!

1. It's fun. Really, really, really fun. Most recently, I've read about a geek in NYC who finds out she's a princess, a girl in a dystopian world who falls in love with a wild man with strange powers, a teen version of Anne Elliot from Persuasion, and a girl who disguises herself as a boy to fight in an alternative steampunk version of WWI. Tell me that all doesn't sound like a barrel of monkeys.

Me and my YA books
There are so many more reasons why I absolutely adore YA lit, but these will do for now. I strongly encourage you all to check out Ms. Revis's post and enter for yourself, but before you go, tell me. Why do YOU love to read YA?