So I’m trying to figure out why I like the Young Adult category of fiction so much lately. I’m pretty sure it all started back in early 2001 with JK Rowling. Bush was handed the Presidency, which put me out of work, and someone had previously given me the first in the Harry Potter series. It had been sitting there on my coffee table for months. I was too depressed to read my beloved Washington Post every day, so I read the first 4 of Rowling’s dense YA masterpieces back to back, consuming 4 feet or so of my bookshelf, and eventually finished out the series of 7 titles. Harry and Hermione and Ron put my mind at ease about the distressing changes going on outside in my work-life world of Washington, DC. I traveled through space and time with the three of them, into a different world, and was happily distracted for hours of my day.
But why YA? When it comes to reading, I have incredible powers of concentration. Long, hot afternoons in childhood, and later, long dull nights in law school prepared me for hours with my nose in a book, no matter when, who, or what was going on around me. So it’s not just that I need YA adventure books to mesmerize me into distraction. I think YA appeals in particular because the stories are timeless, and there are no squeamish, self-indulgent adult topics to manage (I mean, really, my internal dialogue has it ALL covered). I believe there is great benefit to staying connected to the part of yourself still on the cusp of discovering your hidden talents, or uncovering your inner hero or even remaining childlike in your fascination with the world around you. YA covers all of that pretty well, I’d say.
What’s your favorite genre, and why?