I have been an avid reader for the majority of my life. Sullen and majorly introverted growing up, I took comfort in my paperback pals. I was the kid who finished the summer reading list before the summer even started, and laughed at the triviality of the reading contests offered through my local public library; not that my pretentious attitude stopped me from participating in, and completely annihilating those contests with vigour and dedication. Needless to say, I have worked my way through the dewey decimal system over the years, and though my favourite hobby stalled slightly upon starting university, I still like to check out a good book when I can.
Recently, I went on a tropical vacation with a newly acquired e-reader. Given the option to download any book I desired, I decided to download a few novels written by some of my favourite authors as a teenager. For seven days, I bathed in the lavish sun on the beach (physically), but mentally I was lost in a world I had forgotten years ago. I was travelling from town to town with my dad, reinventing myself with each approaching city and learning how to cope with the loss of my mom (What Happened to Goodbye, Sarah Dessen); I was champion diver diagnosed with a life-changing illness and debating my own mortality (Breathless, Lurlene Mcdaniel); I am a socially awkward British girl, try to master the whirlwind world of teen romance with subtle hilarity (anything by Louise Rennison).
There’s a definite nostalgia, yes, but also a definite wisdom to YA books. The lessons we learn as young adults are the most pure, the most basic, and the most relevant of our whole lives. We are taught at this point in our lives how to deal with love, loss, morality, and how to come to terms with the fact that we are no longer children. None of those things ever stop being relevant as we grow up. Neither does dealing with change. YA fiction is geared towards a demographic in the midst of a pretty sizeable transition, but learning to cope with that transit is forever valuable.
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