I’ve mentioned before that I come from a family of readers. Recently my sister, Audrey, has been devouring books at a rate I can barely keep up with. I’ve asked her to start writing a little something for this here blog and she agreed. So once a month, she’ll pop in to share some of her bookish thoughts. Audrey is 19, recently back from time au pairing in the Netherlands, is wicked talented with liquid liner and loves Outlander. Here’s Audrey.
Dear Closeted YA Fans,
Your time is now. Your time is here. Your time is the time to stand up and admit fully and openly that you read Young Adult Books. You dabble in the PG-13; you peruse the stacks of trilogies and multiple dystopian novel sets – yes you Divergent – and as you fall just out of the spectrum of high school, your addiction (my own included) must be kept hidden. Must be stowed at the bottom of your book bag and be covered up like it’s a ten cent harlequin novel with a half naked man on the cover (I must admit, I devour those…). But I’ve decided that enough is enough.
Our time is now. We must make our case, we must let it be understood that what we love should not be devalued just because it is set for a younger studio audience. Do we refuse to go to movies meant for children, where we ourselves leave the theatre mopping our eyes and hugging bags of popcorn to our chests? No!
So why should be tip toe around the YA section, into the adult section, and then when no one is looking, throw ourselves amongst the stacks of books where the youth frolic smoking cigarettes and smacking bubble gum and discussing belly button piercings (I only wished I was so cool).
I mean, I think it’s safe to say that muttering the word “Teen Books” to another fellow adult is like admitting that you still wear diapers and suck your thumb at night. Suddenly you’re opinion is taken in with an eyebrow raise and the slightest hint of “Oh, I guess you can sit at the edge of the adult table”.
So to avoid these rather unwelcoming reactions, I’ve found myself going to great lengths to avoid admitting to others that what I am reading is in fact a teen fiction book. It does in fact have a slightly gooey love story. There is in fact a teenage male heartthrob that everyone is cheering for. There is also in fact a happy ending.
But why is that so wrong?
I read a lot at work, and I have recently been taking up with my kobo – taking out ebooks from the library is a dream for those days where I go through two books – and so now I have to explain to people exactly what I’m reading. I can no longer just smash the curious onlooker in the face with the cover of the book and let them figure it out.
So I was innocently finishing off the delicious morsel of a book by Gayle Forman called One Night (please read it) and one of my customers comes up to me and begins to ask what I’m reading and I freeze. Torn between betraying my new found love affair with Ms. Forman, or opting out like a coward and hiding under the bush of my obsession and straight up lying.
So then, I lied. I betrayed my new found relationship, swimming up to my eyeballs with guilt and self-directed annoyance. Why was I doing this? Why was I lying? Why was Game of Thones my go-to lie?
I was a liar and fraud and a cheater.
I had cheated on my wonderfully sweet and confused, and maybe a tad bit naïve characters of the world of One Night. I had betrayed my adork-able main heroine. I left her to pin after the boy she spent a wonderful night with in Paris. IU had abandoned her in the aftermath of their night together (I don’t mean pregnancy, jeez, I mean college, bleh).
But I also left him. My wonderfully funny little Dutch boy. He even eats hagelslag. Because he’s Dutch.
Instead the world was left to believe I was reading about Sean Bean getting his head chopped off and dragons and Jon Snow and Red Weddings and while I have read about these things before (ermygod so good), no great love affair should be stuffed in the freezer in your basement and forgotten about when your wife shows up.
I don’t find that teen books even often reflect a less important life lesson if you will, from within their depths. I’ve read some messed up teen books. Anything by Ellen Hopkins can make your head spin and your heart hurt. Rainbow Rowell’s Fan Girl teaches me it’s okay to be the way you are, however it is that you want to be. And One Night teaches me not to always worry about what you’re doing next, to believe in accidents, to believe in what is meant to be will be and you’ll find your way. It teaches me to give myself time and to get on trains with tall Dutch boys with wonderful taste in sandwiches. I think that teen books, even if they are about sparkly vampires, are books just the same.
I suppose, a book is a book, no matter what subject matter.
So read your own goddamn book and take pride in the fact you took the time to sit down and fall into another world. Not enough people bother to take the time you do.
So I suppose from now on you can think of me as your liaison to the teen world. Yes, occasionally perhaps I’ll read some adult books to appease your adult needs, but I’m a firm believer in giving any book a chance – if it sucks, it sucks, you know – and I’m here to help you learn what that means. Hopefully you can spare some time in your busy month to allow a moment for little ole me, but I hope we can get along splendidly and give you a chance to really get to know some of the teen books that I do love.
If you want an idea of some good teens books that I’ve read this month, here’s a little list for you:
The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer – basically fairytale retelling, but in the future, but in space, but with love stories, but it’s great.
The Fifth Wave by Rick Yancey – Alien, pretty good. I’ve only really read the first one so far, so bear with me.
One Day and One Week by Gayle Forman – just YES.
If I Stay and Where She Went by Gayle Forman – another YES.
Well that’s all for now folks, I’ll divulge back into the regular world now to deal with my post-book blues, but stay classy.