Defending YA

I love talking about my book (as you might know by reading this blog). I never want to sound braggy, but if someone mentions it, I glow.

But there are also sometimes when I prefer not talking.

And that’s when I know i’m going to get the question. The ultimate question I know other YA authors have received. The one everyone dreads.

“Oh, you write for teens? So, like Twilight?” 

Sigh.

(I’d like to preface this by saying that I read all the books in the Twilight series with no shame. I was addicted. I even went opening weekend to see the movies, even when I knew they’d be ridiculous. I am a fan.)

I hate this question because it doesn’t mean “So, like Twilight, that book series people are crazy about that gave a new light to YA novels and got tons of people read?” No, they mean “So, like Twilight, that stupid sparkling vampire thing?” It’s never meant as a compliment. And it’s always asked with a look of disbelief.

I LOVE YA novels. I read them endlessly. I push them at the library. I know YA books are amazing. And that’s just the thing. I know they’re amazing, and so I’m extremely honored to be joining the ranks of their writers. But so many people don’t see that. They don’t see the wonderful stories hidden behind all of the covers. They don’t choose to. They only choose to see sparkly vampires.

And it’s so annoying.

Not only do they think all of the books are the same, they also treat them as lesser books. As in, not as good, juvenile for the most part. Which makes me so upset because an insane amount of thought goes in to every book, no matter that size or target audience. Just because a book is written for a younger audience doesn’t make it less wonderful.

So for a while I stopped bragging about writing, and later, publishing. I stopped talking when I knew I was around someone who’d ask that question (and you know the people – you can see them coming). But now I’ve decided…who cares? Why should I be shy or cautious around them? Why not tell them about my book, and all of the other fantastic YA novels out there? In the best case scenario, maybe they’ll be enlightened. And in the worst? They’ll think less of me because i’m being published?

Well, there are worse things, aren’t there?

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