I have a confession: I have been reading the same ‘genre’ of books for the past ten years.
Since I was about 13, I have devoured Young Adult Novel after Young Adult Novel.
And I love them!
There is a lot a said about this genre (that isn’t really a genre at all). That the writing is simplistic, the themes almost non-existent, and that most of these books seem to involve a young female human protagonist who falls in love with a male supernatural being who keeps saving her from stuff and then thinks that he’s always putting her in danger but eventually their love conquers all. Now, of course, there are a lot of books written for ‘young adults’ (whatever that means) that follow this basic idea, but there are also some brilliant novels by brilliant writers who have caused me to think and feel and dream a little differently.
- The Perks of being a Wallflower: I have to admit that I read the book after I saw the movie, but Stephen Chbosky’s narration as the lost, scared Charlie is brilliant. I really connected with this book because I’ve experienced and thought and felt a lot of what Charlie had, and I wish I’d been able to better express it, even to an anonymous someone.
- The Artemis Fowl seires: I got into these books when I was still in primary school. It has faeries, leprechauns, warlocks and daemons…and a really spoilt teenage boy. But none of them are quite what you think they are. These books helped me see my intelligence is not a bad thing if I use it properly (also, more often than not, the women do the saving). Eoin Colfer, your imagination rocks!
- Harry Potter: I don’t know quite what to say about this series, except that even though it’s been SIX years since the last book was published, and two years since the final film…these characters are still important to me. I particularly love some things about Luna, Hermione and Ginny in the books (that didn’t make it to the film). They all grow into strong, intelligent young women who are funny and capable and beautiful. These books just gave me hope.
- The Fault in Our Stars: Oh John Green. I was warned before reading this book that I’d be a blubbering mess by the end. I think I cried in the first 100 pages! It was just one of those books that I didn’t put down from the moment I opened it. Hazel and Gus and nerd humour and cancer and so many quotable quotes! And the frustration you feel when everything isn’t tied up in a neat little package.
I could go on and on – there are particular Australian authors like Melina Marchetta, John Marsden and Jaclyn Moriarty that I adore. Then there is the Hunger Games series, and The Mortal Instruments and I’m sure a good many young adult novels that I haven’t read yet. Thank you, to these authors for creating characters that I have loved getting to know. For challenging my assumptions on just about everything and for letting me escape my world for a little while.