I no longer shop the junior’s section at Macy’s. I’ve forgone Forever 21 in favor of the sale rack at Ann Taylor. I tune into HGTV instead of the CW and prefer a sleek, quiet lounge to a bumping night club.
But I still read young adult (YA) novels.
It doesn’t matter that the heroines are half my age; I love the urgency of the story lines, the untempered emotional lives of the characters, and the easily digestible themes.
That said, there’s something uniquely meaningful about the complex struggles, moral ambiguity, and deeply scarred characters inhabiting adult fiction.
Here’s an example:
At the end of May, I picked up Dan Simmon’s award winning sci-fi novel Hyperion. A book full of glorious prose, unexpected subplots, and intelligent ideas, progress was slow but rewarding.
Then an email arrived from the library. After three months on the hold list, Divergent, a YA dystopian novel by Veronica Roth finally awaited me. I set aside my half-finished copy of Hyperion and bustled over to check it out.
Downing pages whenever I had a chance, I finished Divergent in three days (not a big feat, I know, for you speed-readers, but a rare accomplishment in my realm of existence). Needless to say, the book was good—fast paced and well plotted. Moreover, it was effortless. But I guess it should be considering it’s written for kids 12-18.
Though the book was not as good as some of my other YA favorites, I promptly became 124th on the hold list for book two of the series, Insurgent.
YA is definitely hot right now. When I pitched my own book to a publisher at the Las Vegas Writer’s Conference in April, he asked, “Is is YA?” When I said no, he asked, “Could it be?”
As much as I enjoy YA, I’m not about to jump ship and join the ranks of pubescent fanatics wearing team Edward/Jacob/Peeta/Gale/Whoever shirts (but, if you must know, it would be team Edward all the way). For me—and perhaps it is my age—most of these books are but mildly profound.
So I continue to trek forward with Hyperion. When I read exquisite lines like “they watched the red sun hang like a a tethered balloon on the edge of evening” or “their earphones ping with the sounds of particles born in the belly of dying stars” I know the extra effort of great adult fiction is well worth it.