Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Young Adult

It seems that most things around us wear labels written in the hands of others. It allows us to categorize and manage. Like a stereotype is an inaccurate and muddy reflection of a person, labels are sometimes just as problematic when it comes to things. Take for example the category of books referred to as "young adult". From what I have seen, YA books are marketed to newly independent readers in their early to mid-teens. Yet from what I have found, they can have very intricate plots, detailed and realistic character development, very mature themes, and can run the gamut over all genres. Yet labels come cheaply. Sappy teenage romance, awkward battles of body image-challenged square pegs, naivety coming-of-age garbage. Yet I would challenge you to look past these common-law definitions.

Over the past several years I have thoroughly enjoyed savoring my time with two YA series in particular. The first was the Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins that I read last year. The second was the 6-part Dreamhouse Kings series by Robert Liparulo that I just finished reading. Both had very original plots and made me really care about the characters and what happened to them. You know you are connecting with the story when you miss the people as you reach the end of the book. But if you press me for what is missing in a typical YA book, I can admit they are missing any unnecessary foul language and gratuitous sex. But, you know, that's O.K. with me.