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Time to read more YA books

March 31, 2010

Just got another pile of YA books to read and review for the Star-Ledger. As I’ve said here before, this delights me. There’s something about reading novels about sophomores and juniors having end-of-the-world catastrophic angst over minor things like “does he like me?” or “OMG I hate geometry homework.” The past few years have seen a lot of good teen writing, especially on the supernatural side. (No, Twilight doesn’t count. Dumb sparkly vampires.) And there’s definitely a sense of accomplishment in zooming through a teen novel in a little over an hour.

On the minus side- I wonder how deep I’ll be into this pile before I start having my stock nightmares about being back in high school. My particular variations on it include not having legitimately graduated, due to some paperwork error, and being forced to go back and be the oldest person in either gym class (volleyball! yuck!) or 4th period math class, when the mercurial math genius teacher’s blood sugar was low right before lunch and everything about her class of algebra ignoramuses made her yell. I am fairly certain that the reason I still have these dreams is because my name is spelled wrong on my high school diploma. Not my last name, which is decently uncommon (enough so that I get multiple differently-spelled copies of the Land’s End catalog)… but the calligrapher left the Z out of Elizabeth. “Eliabeth.”

I am convinced that is the root of all of my Stuck In High School For a Test I Didn’t Study For nightmares. A paperwork error. I have yet to read a YA novel where that happens.

On the whole, though, I find YA novels rather comforting. Being a teenager was stressful and awful in a lot of ways. But, I’m reading about problems I survived, or that never happened to anyone I knew. Very comforting to know that as I read. Probably also comforting when you’re in the epicenter of all the teen upheaval. I think I would not have weathered my teen years sanely without good YA fantasy and normal fiction.

I wish I found books about “grownup” day in the life stuff similarly comforting. Not so much. Book characters I could probably identify with (20s-30s writer types in cities, eeurrgh chick lit) tend to bore me. I would rather read mysteries or mythology-laden fiction that takes reality as a guideline, rather than a speed limit. Part of it is that high school is pretty universal and inevitable. You go to your classes. You try to get into a good college. Your parents cause you stress.  Dating, or lack thereof causes you stress. You survive. And one of the strangest things to me about being a grownup is just how many variations and options and paths there are that are part of day to day life.

Sometimes, I really, really wish I had a guidance counselor telling me where to try to go next… or a tutor to help out with the overwhelmingly tricky stuff.

This rant brought to you by another gray day that finds me short on sleep from more than my fair share of 3AM navel gazing. Time to brew more coffee.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. June 7, 2010 9:44 am

    Nothing better than a stack of YA books to read. I’ve sort of recently discovered the genre, and I love that it’ s unapologetic fun for the reader.

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