Fangirling for YA Fiction


Kath's Bookshelf / Thursday, March 29th, 2018

For someone who isn’t entirely sure what their favourite genre of book is, I have an awful lot of young adult fiction on my bookshelves. I could probably take up three shelves with just YA fiction. Young adult fiction is literature supposedly written for twelve to eighteen year olds and yet, I wasn’t ready to give up my license to read YA when I was suddenly able to buy Peach Schnapps. It was more like: Now I’m eighteen, I can read John Green WHILE drinking Archers. Hooray!

I’ve known “proper adults” to enjoy YA fiction and have ensured my mum has read some of my all-time favourites. I think the genre is so welcoming to all ages because each book tends to have an underlying tone of seriousness; whether that message be obviously poignant or lurking ever so slightly underneath the pages. Most YA reads feel like a coming of age story; probably obviously so, what with the protagonist likely to be attending high school. By the end of a YA novel, it’s as though the characters and reader alike have completed a symbolic journey. The climax of this symbolic journey will, nine times out of ten, be celebrated by me sobbing my way through at least the last three chapters of a YA novel.

But why does YA feel so accessible to all readers?

  • Its authors tend to not patronise their readers
  • The stories inspire a sense of nostalgia to those older than the protagonists
  • YA tackles serious issues unapolgetically
  • Arguably, YA is the best form of fiction for escapism
  • YA writing is often very sophisticated

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My top ten favourite YA novels:

  1. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
  2. Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli
  3. The Fault In Our Stars by John Green
  4. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
  5. The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen
  6. Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson
  7. I Was Here by Gayle Forman
  8. Maybe Someday by Colleen Hoover
  9. Turtles All the Way Down by John Green
  10. Stolen by Lucy Christopher

The important topic each of these books tackle:

  1. Racism
  2. Sexuality
  3. Cancer
  4. Anxiety
  5. Grief
  6. Terminal illness
  7. Suicide
  8. *Don’t want to provide spoilers.*
  9. OCD
  10. Stockholm Syndrome

Young adult fiction is often praised and rightly so. The Outsiders, however, misunderstand the genre. The genre that provides a safe space for young people; its narrative often spreads positive ideas and characters reach important resolutions. I ignored YA fiction for a year or so but, after reading a handful of brilliant YA reads, it’s the genre I’m most excited to read more of this year. Young adult fiction is definitely the brave and fearless genre of fiction that I hope continues to transcend age and “target” audiences.

Love, Kath

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