The Fine Line Between A Young Adult and Me

Jessie Willcox Smith's illustration of Alice s...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In my newly acquired free time, I have been reading constantly.  I’m surprising myself even, by reading more than I am watching television.  I have finished five books since the start of the new year, and am set into a sixth.

The interesting part though, is the books that I’ve been choosing.  Out of the five finished, three have been young adult books, and a fourth was a rehash of sorts of Alice in Wonderland.  Clearly I have a type.  On one side I feel this needs no explanation   What’s not to like?  But all the same I want to share my exuberance for this genre with you.

Besides being short, well-written, and easy to read–at least from a college level’s perspective–young adult novels have a lot going for them.  They often deal with big themes that are still just as scary as a “grown up” as they are for kids.  Things like self-discovery and knowledge, love and loss.  As a teenager I wished these things would happen to me.  Now, I’m glad that most of them didn’t.

Books have a way of highlighting and heightening the good times that I remember from my own past.  Characters in books were not bogged down by things like math homework and chores.  Or at least, if they were they didn’t seem to take over a character’s life.  Books remind me of the times that I like to remember; an idealized version of my childhood and teen years in which I spent hours at friends houses and the only homework that needed doing was the fun parts.

Furthermore, I find the books that I’m finding or returning to are by the same authors I read as a kid.  Their voices and writing styles are quietly familiar.  Sometimes, they are loudly recalling the books I read as a kid (as is the case of Son, the final in a quartet by Lois Lowry).  Other times they are simply a similar feel (I never read John Green’s books as a kid, but love them now).

Whatever the reason, I will happily continue to read books “below my reading level” as long as they interest me.  While I am glad to read more grown up books, I see no reason to stop reading my current favorites as well.  Besides, the fiction section of the library is huge!  How am I going to find stuff I like in that monstrosity?