This is a guest post by Emlyn Chand, author of FarsightedFor years, I focused on reading classic literature with the occasional YA novel thrown in as a fun change. But you know what? I'm done moving back and forth between what I think I need to be reading and what I know I want to read. I'm making YA my official genre du jour. And what's not to love? Let's take a quick journey back to the beginning of it all... The 1930s were the decade when Juvenile Literature first asserted itself as a genre with books such as Boylston’s Sue Barton series and Rose Wilder Lane’s Let the Hurricane Roar. In the 1950s, JD Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye further defined the protagonists of this genre —those who are not quite grown-ups, but aren’t kids either, those who are in the process of discovering who they are and how they fit into the world around them. It’s clear that the success of a certain boy wizard (does he even need to be named?) brought readers to YA in droves. And from there, literature for a young adult audience is absolutely everywhere.
Of all the great material that is available, YA may have the widest readership — with middle grade children wanting to read a step ahead, adults wanting to remember what it was like to be young and, of course, with the teenage audience for which the books are primarily focused. I am 26, and I love YA literature. It, like other genres, allows for an escape from your own reality, as you become enmeshed in an exciting, fictional world. It features characters who are malleable and who grow into themselves during the course of the novel. It’s often fast-paced and exciting, using a style of prose that is engaging and easy-to-read. If a YA book strikes a chord with you, you may be able to pick up with its adventures again, if the novel has been turned into a series, trilogy or saga. And guess what, there are actual happy ending sometimes, woo hoo! So which YA books have I read and enjoyed? I’m a Harry Potter nut, of course. I'm also coo coo for Hunger Games and most recently, Matched. I’ve enjoyed series such as: Percy Jackson and the Olympians, The City of Ember, Twilight, and His Dark Materials. Louis Sachar’s Holes also kicked butt, and I look forward to reading The Tiger Series by Colleen Houck. The truth is, I’ve only avowed my devotion to this genre quite recently--about a year-and-a-half ago, actually. Just six short months before I decided that YA was so happenin', so exciting, I just had to write it myself! Much of what I’ve read has been multi-book series, which means I haven’t yet discovered all of the great literature that’s out there, just waiting for me to pick it up and enter its compelling world of adventure, excitement, and intrigue. Please, humble book-blog reader, which YA novels are your favorites? Let's generate a go-to list of reading gems and discover the favorite books we haven't gotten the chance to read yet.