Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Why I Love YA (Rachel)

You guys know who Beth Revis is, right? The author of Across the Universe, which I ramble about here?

She's having a huge giveaway where you can enter to win fifty books.


[insert awkward Fifty Shades of YA jokes here that aren't actually funny or clever]


I AM NOT KIDDING. Go here to find out more!

But please come back here to read my post, because I'm going to talk about books and feelings and it's going to be lots of fun.

Why do I love YA?

Seems like a simple question, right? But my answer requires some backstory.

*flashback to sixth grade*

I'm sitting in homeroom, reading a book. The book is Twilight. After not reading much of anything the previous few years, I'd decided over the weekend to start reading Twilight. I completely fell in love with the story, and after reading the last page, I immediately flipped back to the beginning and started reading it again. That Monday, as I was sitting in homeroom in the process of rereading it, I looked up to see a girl across the room. I'd known her since second grade, but we weren't really friends. To be honest, neither one of us really liked each other.

But when I saw her that day, I noticed there was a book in her hands. That book was Twilight. We started up a conversation about the book (which was basically just like "omg edward is lik super hawt rite?" because we were twelve so shut up) and as we read the next three books of the series together, we somehow became best friends.

That girl was Megan. Four (ish?) years later, we're still best friends, we still love talking about books, and we run this book blog together. If we both hadn't happened to be reading Twilight that weekend in sixth grade, our friendship never would have happened.

For that reason, no matter what the Twilight haters say or what silly things Robert Pattinson does or how ridiculous the robot baby looks in Breaking Dawn, I will always love Twilight because it changed my life.

Oh wow that was like, really sentimental and emotional. Whoops.


*another time in sixth grade, probably sometime after reading Twilight but possibly before*

My aunt, who works in publishing and who has been giving me books for free my whole life, has a friend who works at another publishing company. For whatever reason, that friend decides to send a box of books to her, with a sticky note on the box saying "for your niece."

The box was given to me, and as I started pulling books out, I noticed one name that was on several of the books. That name was Sarah Dessen. I believe that box held four or five Sarah Dessen books, one of which was Someone Like You. That was one of the first books from that box that I started reading, and my first Sarah Dessen novel. I completely devoured the rest of her books in the box, and once I ran out of them, I turned to my local library to find the rest.

I believe there were ten of her books at that point, and I read them all within a few months. Her books made me realize that there was more to the YA world than Twilight, and that maybe I should start expanding my horizons and reading about things other than sparkly vampires.

Her books changed my life. The stories are beautiful and the words are perfect and the characters are easy to relate to (which was important at age twelve because I was all "FINALLY SOMEONE UNDERSTANDS ME"). But the biggest thing that came from my discovery of Sarah Dessen's books was the realization that I wanted to be a writer.

It was something I'd never even considered before. But at some point, when I was reading her novels for like the fifth time, it occurred to me that maybe I should write my own books. It seemed like a cool hobby and potential career.

Without her books, I don't know how long it would have taken me to realize that I wanted to be a writer. A few years later, with a hundred ideas scribbled down on paper and a few half-finished or barely-started books and almost two NaNoWriMos behind me, I've found that writing is one of my absolute favorite things to do. I love creating, and one day I hope to be published and make a career out of it and be a Real Author.

Young Adult books have changed my life. Not only do the books have lasting effects on me, but the community itself is absolutely amazing. I've been able to go to author signings and interact with authors and other readers online and I started this blog and I've made so many friends both in real life and on the internet, all because of YA books.

My entire life revolves around books, and I regret nothing. Knowing that there are so many other people out there who love books just like me makes me more confident. I'm no longer concerned with trying to fit in with the people around me at school. I'm content being the nerdy, eccentric self that I truly am, and it never would have happened without the amazing YA community.

There are so many different stories I could tell about books and authors and readers, but this post is getting long enough. As I'm writing this, I'm thinking that I should start a feature on this blog where I occasionally share stories about things I've experienced as part of the YA community. I have so many stories I want to share, about author signings and reading Harry Potter for the first time and deciding to start this blog and becoming a nerdfighter and the first time I read City of Bones by Cassandra Clare.

I think it could be a fun feature. If you'd be interested in reading something like that, let me know what you think in the comments, please. :)

Anyway. To summarize: YA books are da bomb. I love them, they've changed my life, everyone should read them, etc.

Again, here's the link to the giveaway Beth Revis is holding. I officially nominate Beth Revis as The Best Person Ever. Who's with me?!

Thanks for reading, and feel free to share why you love YA down in the comments. I'd love to know some of your awesome stories about books. :)


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