What I Love About YA
Like a lot of people who work in publishing, I majored in English in college. Unlike a lot of the English majors I knew who also wanted to go into publishing, I never wanted to work in literary or adult fiction. Because even though I loved reading literary masters like Proust, Woolf, and Nabokov, and poring over the rich language of these older texts, nothing ever got my heart going the way an incredible YA novel still does today.
I never stayed up late (by choice) to read any of the books I had to read in college (sorry, professors!) but I was the type of kid who was still reading by flashlight under the covers when my parents had thought I’d gone to sleep. I have fallen deepest into worlds I’ve only encountered in YA, and woken up half-dreaming I was still there. And I've never been so breathless talking about a book as I have been when talking about YA.
Now that I’ve been working in publishing—specifically children’s book publishing—for several months now, I’ve been slowly developing a theory as to why that might be.
Reading YA as a teen, it was a lot like falling in love for the first time. Day and night, I couldn’t stop thinking about these books. I’d daydream during class about what I’d do if I could fly, if after school instead of homework my assignment was to hunt vampires, if I was a princess but also an assassin, and my target was the prince. So on and so forth. And at night, I’d actually dream about engaging in epic duels against Lord Voldemort. These were books I longed to live in, put off homework to hang out with, and couldn’t wait to talk to my friends about. I still remember when the Throne of Glass series was called Queen of Glass back when I was part of S. J. Maas’ original Fictionpress following, and arguing with my friends about how to pronounce Celaena’s name.
I know this is a
familiar truth for teens and adults alike, even the ones who (I can’t imagine
why) never read YA or children’s books anymore. Because even if they feel they
ought to be reading books that are “for adults,” we all remember the first
books we fell in love with, and we all had to learn how to read the same
way—graduating from picture books to chapter books, middle grade, YA, and
So I’m proud to say I still read—and LOVE to read—YA, middle-grade, and children’s books in general. I love that I’m working right where the magic happens, on the front lines of first love for generations and generations of teens and other new or early readers.
What are some of the first books you ever fell in love with—the first ones ever to make you swoon? ;)