What books have you read lately? What movies have you seen? Unless you’ve been holed up in a cellar for the past year, there’s a good chance that you ran across a Young Adult novel in one form or another.
- Mockingjay, Part 1
- If I Stay
- The Maze Runner
- The Fault in Our Stars
What made all of these books such successful movies?
Was it the plot? Was it the characters?
What about “Pretty Little Liars”, “The Lying Game”, and “The Carrie Diaries”? All YA novels that were turned into TV shows.
Whether it’s through books, movies, television, or even just walking down the street behind a bunch of giggling teenage girls, you’re exposed to YA on an almost daily basis. The Young Adult genre isn’t just about teenagers who are coming of age. It’s about the journey they take to find themselves and the people who help them get there.
For me, my love of reading started at an early age. Between the ages of 4 and 11, I read everything I could get my hands on. But soon after that, I discovered the teen section at my public library. And over the next few years, I made my way down the row, reading nearly every book on the shelf. The characters inspired me to find myself – to dig deep and discover qualities within me that even I didn’t know existed.
One of my favorite things about writing YA novels is placing my characters in difficult or dangerous situations and watching how they grow and succeed in spite of it all. No one knows how they’ll react when a life threatening event occurs, and neither do my characters. But when faced with danger, they can find an inner strength to drive them forward. It may be a work of fiction, but sometimes we pick up a book or watch a movie where the characters are a reflection of who we truly want to be.
There are still many people who feel that YA books are below them and that they aren’t literary quality type reads. But I have to disagree. While “The Hunger Games” isn’t Jane Eyre, its dystopian storyline and strong, somewhat vulnerable protagonist, speaks to anyone who has ever gone through a difficult time and has come out changed on the other side. “The Fault in Our Stars” and “If I Stay” makes us question our own mortality while “The Carrie Diaries” shows how perseverance and lots of hard work can lead to realizing your dreams.
So, the next time you head out to the movies, pick up a book, or turn on the TV, check out the Young Adult titles. They may just inspire you to look inside yourself.