Gorgeous is my first Young Adult novel, and I’ve been having a great time, learning about the far-reaching world of YA. In honor of Scholastic’s I Read YA campaign, here are some thoughts:
1. The YA readership is remarkably passionate, loyal and diverse. YA readers tend to devour books, and they take a wonderful interest in both their favorite authors and other readers.
2. Some YA readers can be adorably strict. For example, a reader might tell Goodreads that, “In Jane Smalljammer’s Reign of the Dark Fairies, I had a problem when Philandria, the Queen of the Underelves, destroyed the hive of the Screechlings in one day. I just felt that this wasn’t realistic.”
3. YA readers are fiercely devoted to underdogs, meaning characters who, in real life, might often be overlooked, under-appreciated, or bullied. YA readers like to see these characters prevail, through their hard work and good humor. These readers also like it when the female underdogs manage to nab at least one truly cute guy, preferably with tousled hair.
4. YA readers enjoy stories centering on gay characters, transgendered characters, and characters of color, far more than the audience for adult fiction. While adult readers will sometimes stick to books that reflect solely their own experience, YA readers seem to be more curious and open to all sorts of stories. Especially if there’s kissing.
5. YA books span every historical period, and it’s refreshing when wars and revolutions and the building of the pyramids are seen through the eyes of younger characters, who always seem able to speak English.
6. There’s been a huge surge in books focusing on wizardly worlds and dystopian despair. Both of these genres allow for extremely high stakes and cinematic action.
It’s especially nice when young girls, as in The Hunger Games and Divergent, defeat evil empires, while the cute boys remain steadfast, and are willing to make a Starbucks run, while the warrior girls save the planet.
7. Right now I’m looking forward to reading YA by terrific authors like Elizabeth Eulberg, whose latest novel is Better Off Friends; Ransom Riggs, who has Hollow City, which is the second volume in his bestselling series which began with Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children; and Tim Federle, who’s written Five, Six, Seven, Nate!, which is a follow-up to his completely delightful Better Nate Than Ever, a tale of a kid making his way on Broadway.