Saturday, June 25, 2011

How to Fall in Love With YA

(via weheartit.)

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?


  1. Hey we started with the same book, kind of.

    I was in B&N looking for Eclipse (having gobbled up the first two books) and I saw a Sarah Dessen display and went home with The Truth About Forever. So I always say Stephanie Meyer introduced me to the genre and Sarah Dessen got me hooked (and made me want to write it) :)

  2. Why does it have to be "fall in love with YA" though? I mean...couldn't it be just "fall in love with reading?"

  3. Alexa
    Oh, awesome! I have a feeling that Dessen has inspired a generation of future (and present) YA writers. :)

    Michael Offutt
    Nope, it has to be YA because I was *already* a voracious reader since... well, since my parents started teaching me to read when I was tiny.

  4. Step One: Read books that were always "too hard" for you since age 9.

    Step Two: Get questioned at a B&N by a bookseller because I looked too young to be in the YA section.

    Step Three: Get really obstinate and walk out of the B&N determined to keep reading the books I wanted.

    Step Four: Find John Green, Scott Westerfeld, Justine Larbalestier, Maureen Johnson, etc (aka the coolest group of people ever) online and get hooked on their blogs and nerdfighterdom.

    Step Five: 8 years later, still finding solace and glee in the YA section of the bookstore and library. sniff at the boring covers and dull displays of adult books (okay I love reading literary or adult books but it's so much harder to find the good ones...)

  5. I loved this post so much, I created a list of my own. Just wanted to let you know!