In Defense of YA Literature
If you’ve been to your local booksellers lately, it is clear the Young Adult offerings have grown from occupying a couple of shelves into a legitimate section with assorted subgenres springing up. Like any genre, there are great, OK, and fairly poor examples of writing in this category, but to dismiss it wholesale, as some are wont to do, is unfortunate.
Now, I’m not saying this because I am secret fan of boy wizards or vampires who sparkle. I came to this particular party rather late and primarily because I was curious as to why my students were so fascinated with certain authors.
I started with Suzanne Collins and her Hunger Games trilogy and devored them as fast as I could get copies from the school library. I found her sense of voice to be fascinating, as I did the theme of sacrifice that runs throughout the series.
Recently I consumed the Divergent series by Veronica Roth. I loved how she wove notions of identity, self-sacrifice, forgiveness and healing into a dystopian Midwestern landscape.
Don’t get me wrong, as I am well aware these books are not perfect from a literary standpoint. While many teens not have a problem with sentence fragments and the obsessive usage of present-tense verbs, the English teacher in me has to take a deep breath and put such concerns aside in order to find the often-compelling story within. A friend of mine recently said that he didn’t care how a book was categorized, because a good story was a good story. I totally agree with him.
I may have two Eric Metaxes books, one from my friend Joseph Bentz and the latest John Grisham novel on my Kindle all ready for me to read but it was nice, just for a while, to imagine what it would be like to be a member of the Dauntless faction in a rebellion-ravaged Chicago.
If you ask me, that’s a good story for young and old alike.
I've been writing stories and taking photos since I was old enough to hold a pencil and stand behind a tripod.