I chose to write a young adult novella, The Charm, because YA is what I like to read. And no, I’m not a teenager anymore but I like to think the young in young adult can mean young in mind and spirit, not just in body.
Let’s face it, real life in the adult world can be dull and dreary at times but books written from a young person’s perspective offer energy, hope and wonder. And I think reading books written for teens or about teen characters helps readers keep a youthful outlook on life.
Magical things can happen in YA fiction. Spells can be cast, potions can be brewed, vampires and werewolves can fight together to beat the real bad guys. YA stories can take you to new worlds. Take, for example, the Glade, where the characters live in Maze Runner by James Dashner, or the maze itself with its moving walls and terrifying inhabitants. Even settings in this world can be interesting and have a slightly different take, like the dilapidated future Chicago in the Divergent series by Veronica Roth.
YA can ignite your imagination. What if everyone could hear the thoughts of all men and animals as in Patrick Ness’s Chaos Walking trilogy? What if you had the kill gene like Davy in Uninvited by Sophie Jordan?
YA isn’t just fantasy and avoiding real life though. Difficult issues have been tackled, but it’s usually done in a fast paced, entertaining manner. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green deals with the issue of cancer using wit and humour as well as tragedy. And the coming of age story, The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky, takes an honest look at a whole host of challenging issues including sex, drugs, child abuse, homosexuality and suicide through the eyes of the awkward, introverted narrator Charlie.
Mostly I like YA because it gives readers hope and the belief that adversity can be overcome. In the Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, Katniss defies the odds to not only survive the games but to find a loophole and save Peeta too. And in The Giver by Lois Lowry, Jonas discovers the truth about his community and manages to escape from the Sameness.
Whatever the situation, whether it’s fantasy, romance, dystopia or real life, YA books move fast. They are immediate and action packed with no time to get bored.