In my local library there are the usual stacks of books reaching as high as I can reach. There's the dewey decimal system. There's the fiction section, taking up nearly half of the library.
But, beyond those stacks, there is another, more exciting section. It's located halfway between the regular fiction section and the psuedo-playground of the children's section. Something different. Something better.
Now you have to understand, I'm in my 30s and I have my own kids. I've got a university education and I've been published in scholarly and literary journals. I listen to NPR. I've read the giants of literature and the masters of pulp. But there's only one section I browse any more.
There's something magical about that section, and I think I know what it is.
YA abandons its pretenses and embraces the story. YA doesn't care if the story is about a family living on an asteroid during the industrial revolution (larklight), or about a boy discovering the body of a girl in Ireland (bog child) or about a girl awoken from hyperspace sleep on a generations ship (Across the Universe). It doesn't matter. All belong. All are welcome. The story is paramount. You can even have distopian stories about people whose brains are programmed by colors (Shades of Grey) written with greater wit and creativity than any traditional literary endeavor.
Sure, the bookstore is overrun with paranormal romance, but this, too, shall pass. YA will still be there, entertaining us, telling us stories that stick with us for days. Bringing us characters who we love. YA abandons the pretense of literary greatness and just makes us feel things. If you ask me, that's the future of literature.
In celebration of YA lit. Beth Revis is giving away 50 signed YA books on her blog. You can sign up for it right here.I've also put the banner from the contest below.
Go enjoy a YA book or two. You'll be hooked. There's nothing more fun than just kicking back and dropping into a whole new life and world with the ease of turning a page.