Thursday, August 07, 2008

Not Too Old

Growing up, I spent a great deal of time at the public library in the small city in which I lived. I especially loved participating in the summer reading programs, and some of my favorite childhood memories include meeting with children's librarians to report on my reading for the week or sitting on the floor in our living room with the stack of new books I'd just brought home from a library visit. I loved novels, especially historical fiction and mysteries.

By the time I got to high school, though, most of the time I spent at the public library - at least during the school year - was spent on debate research. I certainly still considered myself a reader - and I enjoyed most of what I was required to read at school, including To Kill a Mockingbird, Dandelion Wine, and The Fountainhead - but I wasn't visiting the library to find novels. In some ways I no longer quite fit in at one of my favorite places to be.

According to Wikipedia, the 1970s to the mid-1980s were the golden age of young adult fiction, when publishers began to focus on the emerging adolescent market, and booksellers and libraries, in turn, began creating YA sections distinct from either children's literature or novels written for adults. As with many trends, my town was apparently behind the times. I distinctly remember, at perhaps fifteen years old, asking the children's librarian one summer if I could participate in the reading program. She reluctantly allowed me to do it - but it was clear that I was really too old. There was no YA section at the library, no teen summer reading program.

Since becoming an adult - especially a mother of two teen girls - I have discovered that the young adult genre is not only one that I enjoy but also one that is filled with excellent novels. Just because these books are about adolescents and are marketed for adolescents, that doesn't mean that they, as a group, are in any way inferior to adult novels in character, plot, setting, theme, or style. I love visiting the teen section at the local branch of our county library, especially to peruse the new books shelf.

Among some of my favorite YA reads over the past couple of years - with links to my reviews - are the following:

I wrote this post for August's Bookworms Carnival,
hosted by Florinda at The 3R's.
Check out other carnival posts here.


  1. Thanks for the consolidated list! I've read a few, have a few on my TBR list, and will look into a few. :)

  2. Nice post. It was tough to get books in the teenage years, I think I moved into Danielle Steele and Stephen King at that point, but there were a few angsty, afterschool-special type books I remember reading. And the Outsiders! Classic teenage angst.

    I love your list, and since the four I've also read were excellent, I'll take this list as reference for more YA books.

  3. I too have a love for YA literature. Just read a couple of others for your list. Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli was really lovely. Also reading Truancy right now.

  4. I've read all but one of those, and I think that was a really good sampling of great young adult books. I'm glad I won't have to give up on those soon. I love young adult books! :)

  5. Oh--I'll definitely have to check these out. . .thanks for the list!

  6. That's a good list. I've heard good things about "Uglies".

  7. You got me hooked on checking out teen fiction, I am reading Uglies now.

    Have you read The Giver by Lois Lowry? Probably, you've read almost everything! :) I am reading her trilogy The Giver, Gathering Blue and The Messenger. She is another cool YA author!

    Thanks for more great ideas!