Why I read YA

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This morning I woke up to thisisteen informing me that it’s “I read YA” week.

Quite possibly, this is one of the best things I could ever have woken up to. If you’ve been following this blog for any length of time at all, you’ll know that YA is the main attraction. I love teen lit. And for very, very good reasons.

YA has one of the baddest reps around. People lie, cheat, and in general attack it on a day to day basis: something that hasn’t changed and isn’t setting up to anytime soon. But YA is the best of the best of the best. There’s infinite reasons to read it, infinite reasons to advocate it, and then a few more reasons to love it with all your heart and soul.

I read YA for a couple main reasons, though. The biggest is that I read YA because I believe in youth, whatever form it may take. I read YA because encapsulated in it is the spirit of generations, tied up in stories of people’s times. In YA, people break barriers, they grow and change and evolve, they try new things. In YA, from author to character to even reader, things are happening. People are genre-bending! People are foregoing genre entirely! People are

writing

things

like

this!

In YA there’s no right way to do things, and there are so many, many reasons to try new things. People often criticize teenagers for only wanting what’s new, what’s shiny. YA caters to the new and the shiny, and it polishes up parts of the old and wise as well. In any given YA story, the youth run amok. They’re loud and glorious, quiet and horrid, scared and out there. They do things that are all that we can do and then more, and that’s important.

The spirit of youth is one that, if it’s going to last, has to be cultivated and fed again and again. YA feeds it on heart and soul, love and loss, and the often-present desire for something more. (prime example: Maggie Stiefvater’s Raven Cycle.) Youth is important. Teenagers are important. Growing up and coming of age are important. The journey of turning into a human being is so, so important.

Which makes YA one of the most important things, and brings me to the other primary reason that I read YA.

Friendship.

I read YA because books are always written for a lot of different reasons, but YA in general carries a constant theme, or at least a secondary idea: when you read this book, you will not be alone. Whether you picked it up because it dealt with a subject that was important to you, or you picked it up because you liked the genre. Whether the character’s situation attracted you, or the character itself. While you’re reading a YA book in particular, you are not the only person in the room. You share a common interest with someone in the story, and even if you only went into it because you thought alternate Russia featuring a giant rift full of shadow monsters sounded cool, chances are you’ll come out of it with a new best friend.

That’s what’s in YA. Someone to care about, and someone to care about you. YA is so important to me because of what it’s done for me, and I write it for the purpose of giving that to someone else eventually. I read YA because without it, millions of people would be lost, would never find the precise kind of inspiration they needed to follow their dreams or hear the exact encouragement they needed to get their willpower back.

People think YA is about fads. About trends, about what sells. About flat romances and uninteresting plots. They’re wrong, though. YA is about too many things to quantify, and it’s always becoming more than even that. That’s why I read YA.

If you want to join in on all the #IreadYA week fun, hop on over here to check out the info!

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