Step One: Be twelve years old and awkward and in a back brace and dealing with the aftermath of some fairly big things that take a while to really come to terms with. Be very smart and not very social and so you take out a book every single morning from the school library. One morning decide you want something a bit heavier, a book that might take more than one day to finish.
Step Two: Find Sarah Dessen's The Truth About Forever. Have no idea what it's about or what genre it is -- nothing at all, really, except for that the few sentences you read seem good and it's well over two hundred pages and if you don't like it you can just bring it back tomorrow anyway.
Step Three: Read the book and it's amazing.
Step Four: Find more books. Ann Brashares' The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, Angela Johnson's The First Part Last, and every Sarah Dessen novel you can find. Devour these books.
Step Five: Realize that books like The Truth About Forever are exactly what you want to write: difficult and beautiful and hopeful and messy all at the same time. And so obviously you need to read even more books.
Step Six: Read.
Step Seven: Read.
Step Eight: Don't care that you're the only one reading these books or maybe the only one reading at all, because the books are great and you love them.
Step Nine: Read. Continue reading. Read and read as other authors join the ranks of Sarah Dessen. Authors like Courtney Summers, Suzanne Collins, Gayle Forman, Sarah Ockler, Sara Zarr, and so many others.
So tell me -- how did you fall in love with YA?