I’m still a YA, right?

When I was little, I did battle with the elementary school librarian to be permitted to read the books reserved for the upper elementary school students. I had to read the first page of “The Witch of Blackbird Pond” out loud to her. (That was the particular book I wanted to read at the time.)

When I succeeded, she sighed heavily and released me from the Dick and Jane, See Spot Run shelves to the “big kid” books. I never looked back, always reading ahead of my age group. I bypassed Sweet Valley High for M.M. Kaye and Jude Devereaux before I was out of junior high.

So what in the heck am I doing with a pile of Young Adult books from the library? YA novels are wildly popular with OA (Old Adults?) these days. I finished Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins today. Her dystopian tale falls into the “can’t-put-it-down” category reserved for only a few books. Scott Westerfeld’s Uglies is next on my list. 
What’s the appeal? I could blame it on my impending 40th birthday. Or the fact this perimenopausal phase is distressingly similar to puberty in reverse (complete with zits, weird hair, and a flare-up of my rebellious streak). Or I could blame it on the wildly popular Twilight series, my first foray into the realm of YA fiction. 
What I’m finding as I devour these novels is an attraction for the stories, plain and simple. They’re fresh. What I’ve read so far hasn’t been pumped up with scenes of illicit sex, gratuitous violence, or stereotypical religious characters. They remind me of the tales that swept me into other realms and times and scenes when I actually WAS a young adult.
Maybe it’s just time to stop limiting myself to small sections of the library, or the bookstore! 

3 thoughts on “I’m still a YA, right?

  1. Kaye Dacus says:

    It's nice to know I wasn't the only one reading Jude Deveraux in junior high (read VELVET SONG for the first time when I was 11 or 12).

    I find myself now going back to the YA novels I did read as a YA—there's something comforting about the stories/characters I've known for more than twenty-five years. I haven't read as much modern YA (with the exception of the Harry Potter books, with are amongst my favorites). Of course, I don't read a lot of anything anymore. But there are several YA books out that I've been more tempted to read than their counterparts in the "OA" fiction section of B&N!

  2. Niki Turner says:

    Kaye – I loved the whole Velvet series! Highland Velvet was my favorite. I'm curious, since I skipped YA when I was a YA, what books are you going back to? I don't even know what was popular then?

  3. Kaye Dacus says:

    I read a somewhat strange mix of books in my early teens. I read the Deveraux books, but I also devoured the Sunfire Romance series from Scholastic (sweet, historical YA romances), Madeleine L'Engle, Laura Ingalls Wilder, Janette Oke, and a YA series published in the 1940s by Rosamund duJardin: Practically Seventeen, Boy Trouble, Class Ring, and The Real Thing.

    One of my favorites that I still pick up a couple of times a year is a light gothic romance by Willo Davis Roberts, White Jade.

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