It’s nothing personal; it’s just not my cup of tea.
See, YA as it stands today is actually a little foreign to me. Sure, it existed while I was growing up, but it was a tiny section at the bookstore with the heading “Teen.” While not a teen, I moved on from children’s books and into teen reads when I was ten, after having pretty much read my way through the children’s section. But I found this teen section lacking and a little sad with all of it’s heavy topics, too heavy for a ten-year-old. This was also before the rise of fantasy and vampires in this age group. So, I headed straight over to the adult fantasy section and fell in love with Robert Jordan about 3 and a half years later, after working through Mercedes Lackey and filling in the gaps with Nancy Drew.
Now, I’m not that old. I was 10 in 1997 when Harry Potter was published. At the time, it was touted as a children’s book for child and adult enjoyment. Having just left the children’s books behind, I scoffed at them for a few years. I wasn’t going back! I was an adult reader, reading my mother’s books in eighth grade!
Harry Potter brought YA into the foreground. YA became an established genre. Three years later, my brother started reading it and was temporarily hooked. So, my parents convinced me to read it. Read it I did until book 5, when Harry started sounding a lot like my perpetually angry brother. I did not want to read and live with that kind of behavior. So I stopped and never looked back. I only know how it ends because my husband wanted to see the last 2 movies.
Then those vampires popped up. I don’t like vampires, or werewolves, on any day. While my friends and classmates were hooked, I was wading even deeper into Robert Jordan, Terry Goodkind, Anne Bishop, Douglas Niles, Margaret Weis, and countless others. I didn’t care for vampires, and the assortment of fantasy YA books that inevitably followed. From fantasy, I moved on into the classics. I empathize with Sonya in War and Peace. Les Miserables made me cry. The Red and the Black made me want to mangle the book. And I fell in love with The Scarlet Pimpernel’s titular character. Needless to say, I lacked all interest in YA. By the time I moved on from the classics, I was in college, busy with college readings and, somehow, enamored with Cleo Coyle’s Coffeehouse Mysteries (I don’t even drink coffee).
So there you have it. I missed the resurgence of YA and, later on, lacked interest that continues to this day. Certainly I will sometimes read it, but only to help my son drift off to sleep.
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