Wednesday, April 9, 2008

YA Changed My Life and Other Stories

This post is inspired by a post from the Smart Bitches, Trashy Books blog. Basically, they were discussing how reading romance novels had changed their views on how life should be.

Now, I definitely doubt that anyone here wants to repeat high school (ew yucky icky gross!) or deal with puberty again (ew yucky icky gross!!!) but I think that what YA forces us as readers and writers to deal with is that sudden change in a person's life when they realize that they have to grow up.

"Look at me! I'm an adult now! ...oh shit, this means I have to work."

You know?

I think reading YA changed my life because, first of all, my first fantasy YA book blew. my. mind. and I never fully recovered (5 fantasy WIPs can attest to this fact) and second of all, I think the religious readings of Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret and all those other books that talked about puberty made me slightly less disturbed about maturing early.

Unfortunately, I also went on this depressing book kick around the time that I was in this delicate developmental age and I decided that life wasn't all that peachy. Reaching a 45 year-old's level of cynicism at age 12 is quite a feat, lemme tell you.

I swear I got better, though.

So what about you? Has YA literature changed your life? Does it impact the way you see things? Did it impact your expectations for later on in life?


hannah said...

For me, YA has always been a voice in my head going, "IT'S OKAY. YOU'RE NOT MAKING THIS UP."

And that always helps.

SuzanneYoung said...

Great post, Sophie. YA has helped me see the innocence in my stories. The first kiss, first love-all the excitement involved in newness. I feel like YA books have the pacing I enjoy, the moods I enjoy.

It's like, YA helps me fall in love again.

Sasha said...

I think life is an ongoing series of these "oh I have to grow up now" moments. YA speaks to me on that level. I also love the way that even in many of the darker YA books, the characters are often stronger and more optimistic than in adult fiction.

bethany said...

This is a great post, Sophie, and shows how important and lasting good YA is.

Obviously one moves beyond high school and puberty (yay!) but you still have to deal with so many new and unexpected things in life!

I love YA!

~grace~ said...

My mother claims I read YA, and specifically YA fantasy, because I don't want to grow up. She may have a point.

Basically, YA Fantasy is the first thing I read that REALLY made me want to write. And go beyond wanting to actually writing.

It was, y'know, a complete plagiarism of Patricia Wrede's Enchanted Forest Chronicles, but hey, it was a start.

~grace~ said...


and is it bad that my main concern now is that I want to change my avatar? yeah...

SuzanneYoung said...

Grace, we forgot to make the escape plan's meet up place. haha

Yapping About YA said...

Sasha - OMG Patricia C Wrede! My forgotten and neglected influence. Definitely one of the authors I aspire to be. I love her twist on the typical fantasy land... LOVE IT LOVE IT LOVE IT

She's basically who I look to for all my world building needs.

cyn said...

i have this theory that no matter how old you are, you'll always see yourself at ages 15 - 17. (yep, soph, you're stuck. but you're wonderful now so you'll be wonderful when you are old like me.)

i have another theory, that books you read as a young child and teen resonante much more than books you read when you are older.

i'm not sure why. but that's the case for me. i was so deeply affected by my childhood favorites (a wrinkle in time, island of the blue dolphins, a little princess, ballet shoes and dancing shoes...) i wrote a YA novel without even realizing it.

great post!

Kristina Springer said...

Ooooh-- good point Cyn! I have a hard time seeing myself as any older either. And my older brother, he's 33, he swears people still think he's 18. I'm like, uh...THEY ARE LYING TO YOU. :-)