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November 11, 2010


Marianne Vakiener

Total agreement from me. You know what else I love about YA novels? The theme is easy to spot.

Karen Smith

I've often said that the stories are *straightforward.* I use fiction to escape, to go elsewhere (you know, somewhere NICER, usually, or more amazing than my dull everyday life) and to enjoy a romp in someone else's imaginary world. I like that YA/mid-grade makes it easy to follow the journey there, since it seems a particular joy of adult literary writers to make you not have any idea where you're going (genre, too, sometimes - everything is so strange it's become completely unintelligible.)


I can certainly see how you'd form those opinions because there are a lot of books out there that fit those molds. But not all mainstream fiction is laced with ennui, and not all genre fiction swells with a cast of thousands (and I'd submit that not all middle grade/YA is quite as rosy as the picture you paint either).

What I've learned (over and over because I keep forgetting) is to pick my books carefully: the books recommended by critics or even casual readers seldom match my interests. Few casual readers read as much as I do, and few critics share my interests. But then, if taste is subjective, why come up with reasons at all? - there's nothing at all wrong with preferring YA & Middle Grade and really no reason to have to justify it.

So to the crux of the matter, what was the recent non-MG/YA book that inspired the post? :)

Karen T. Smith

The primary one that got me started was a story in a "Golden Age of Sci Fi" supposedly short story collection (but the electronic file crapped out on me on page 200+, so this particular story wasn't short at all.) I was relieved, actually, when the ebook stopped responding (reminds me, I need to get a refund or at least a re-download, there were other stories in the TOC that I wanted to read.)

I read the Assassin's Apprentice series at the beginning of 2010 and, while I really enjoyed the stories in a general sense, it was quite a slog, and I ended up depressed (with the way the story ended in particular.) It wasn't a huge-cast Fantasy, though the cast did get large over the course of the three novels, but it was manageable. Time Traveler's Wife bummed me out. I never liked any of the "classic literary fiction" crapola assigned in HS and college (which, mercifully, is long in my past now.) Shakespeare and Dostoyovsky I liked, the rest I could do without. ;)

But Ben, if I didn't find reasons to justify all sorts of random workings of my brain, what on earth would I blog about? ;)


Lady, you crack me up. Love you.

And with that said, I'm currently reading the 3rd book in a trilogy that I think you might like. It's not YA, but I generally consider my 10 y/o son these days when I read something (he's voracious) and I think this is only just a little bit too mature for him. Not too much violence and not too vividly described, no actual sex (although it's implied a little), a couple of homosexual relationships (both males and females!), and NO rape.



me too!

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