I’m sure most of us are aware of Ruth Graham’s Slate article Against YA. When I first read it I wholeheartedly agreed with her (I even went so far as to tweet my agreement, something I now regret). But the more I thought about it the more I realized how wrong I was.
For one thing, my opinion was totally biased by the fact that the last few YA novels I read were total garbage. Let’s just say they were the type of thing publishers rushed to get out in time to ride on Twilight‘s coattails. Yep, that’s how bad they were.
For another thing, I was only thinking about my personal preferences. Now, I read anything and everything. Chick lit and cozy mysteries are great as audiobooks while I’m driving or on my iPad at lunch, but if I’m going to spend hours giving a book my undivided attention I want it to be something I can really sink my teeth into. Those are the books that I truly enjoy. When I think about people who only read what I might consider ‘light reading’ I feel sorry for them.
But then I realized that I feel sorry for them the same way I feel sorry for people who don’t knit. Here’s something that gives me so much pleasure and I can’t imagine not having that. But realistically I know that not everyone will enjoy the same things. Knitting makes me happy the same way that hiking or video games or coin collecting makes other people happy. It’s all a matter of taste, and the same goes for books.
Finally, there really are some amazing YA books out there (they’d just been overshadowed in my memory by the recent drivel I had been reading). One of my absolute favourites is Mary C. Sheppard’s Seven For a Secret. This Canadian gem is about teens living in a remote Newfoundland village. I don’t want to give away too much because this book is definitely worth hunting down and reading for yourself, but the last line is just so full of joy and sorrow and hope that it gives me chills every single time I read the book. Oh, how we danced.