Appreciating Genres I Love: Young Adult Literature
I’ve been reading a fair amount of Young Adult literature lately. None of the selections seem to be a good fit for This Week’s Recommended Read, since I, for the most part, attempt to review classic literature. Still I wanted a chance to sing praises to the genre I so enjoy, write about the wealth of fascinating material that it encompasses and maybe even garner a few suggestions from other fans of the YA novel.
The 1930s were the decade when Juvenile Literature first asserted itself as a genre with books such as Boylston’s “Sue Barton” series and Rose Wilder Lane’s “Let the Hurricane Roar.” In the 1950s, JD Salinger’s “Catcher in the Rye” further defined the protagonists of this genre —those who are not quite grown-ups, but aren’t kids either, those who are in the process of discovering who they are and how they fit into the world around them.
It’s clear that the success of a certain boy wizard (does he even need to be named?) brought readers to YA in droves. And from there, literature for a young adult audience is absolutely everywhere. Of all the great material that is available, YA may have the widest readership — with middle grade children wanting to read a step ahead, adults wanting to remember what it was like to be young and, of course, with the teenage audience for which the books are primarily focused.
I love YA literature. It, like other genres, allows for an escape from your own reality, as you become enmeshed in an exciting, fictional world. It features characters who are malleable and who grow into themselves during the course of the novel. It’s often fast-paced and exciting, using a style of prose that is engaging and easy-to-read. If a YA book strikes a chord with you, you may be able to pick up with its adventures again, if the novel has been turned into a series, trilogy or saga. I benefit greatly from squeezing in a YA novel now and then to allow myself a break from the classics—it’s nice to have a happy ending once in a while or to deal with purer struggles.
So which YA books have I read and enjoyed? I’m a “Harry Potter” nut, of course. I’ve also enjoyed series such as: “Percy Jackson and the Olympians,” “The City of Ember,” and “His Dark Materials.” Louis Sachar’s “Holes” was fabulous too. The truth is, I’ve only avowed my devotion to this genre quite recently, and since much of what I’ve read has been multi-book series, I haven’t yet discovered all of the great literature that’s out there, just waiting for me to pick it up and enter its compelling world of adventure, excitement, and intrigue.
Please, humble book-blog reader, which YA novels are your favorites? This time, I’m looking to you for recommendations.