312015May

YA for All

It’s no secret that I love young adult fiction. Some of the best books I’ve read in the last few years are YA novels. True – I am a “few” years past the target age for that particular genre, but the books are so very good!

It just so happens that I am not alone. More and more adults are finding immense satisfaction (not to mention new favorite books and authors) between the covers of young adult novels. Unfortunately, there is an idea floating around out there that those of us over the age of twenty who choose to read young adult books ought to be ashamed of our reading choices.

YA’s critics claim that young adult authors gloss over tough issues and over-simplify difficult problems in their quest for a happy, or at least satisfying, ending. I disagree.

I have read a lot of young adult books in the last few years. In fact, there are currently 175 books on my “young adult” shelf on Goodreads. They have not all been four and five star reads for me, but there are some truly fabulous books on that list. Yes, some of them have been a bit formulaic, but that’s true of some of the adult books I’ve read as well. Those books, while enjoyable enough to read, are usually quickly forgotten once the story is done.

Some of them, on the other hand, really knocked my socks off. I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson, is absolutely one of the best books I’ve read so far this year. Mosquitoland by David Arnold was also amazing. The Ghosts of Heaven by Marcus Sedgewick was one of the most complex, thought-provoking books I’ve read in a long time. Books such as these linger long after I’ve finished the final page. They are as satisfying as any adult book I’ve ever read.

Of course, at the end of the day, all that matters is whether you, the reader, enjoyed the book. Whether you found layers of meaning or pure escape in the pages, your enjoyment made that book a worthwhile read. No matter what genre you read, be a proud reader!

Graham Public Library is launching a new book club for YA readers. The inaugural meeting of the YA For All Book Club will be Monday evening, June 22, at 7:00. The club is open to anyone ages 16 and up who reads young adult books.

YA For All’s first book is The Fifth Wave by Rick Yancey. I am not usually a huge sci-fy fan, but Yancey’s alien invasion story was original and oh-so creepy that I couldn’t put the book down. The story is character-driven, but packs plenty of action and suspense guaranteed to keep the pages turning.

The Graham Library has copies of the book available for checkout, and there is plenty of time left to read before the club meeting. Pick yours up this week and delve in, then join the discussion on the 22nd. It’s time to declare yourself to be a proud YA reader!

Heather Holley-Hall is Alamance County Public Libraries’ Associate Director of Operations. She may be reached at 336-570-6730 or hhhall@alamancelibraries.org.