I met our sixteenth reader on a rare and well-deserved break from her postgraduate studies in law. It was clear from the beginning of our conversation that she was intent on building a strong case in defense of the oft slandered genre of young adult fiction. Her initiation into YA is attributed to late-night readings of Meg Cabot’s The Mediator series, and she happily points how those books influenced her adult reading habits. We discuss the appeal of the genre for various age groups, the importance of narratives that give youth the confidence to enact social change, and the benefits and challenges of reading for pleasure.
“Nostalgia definitely plays a role for me…I can feel things that I don’t necessarily remember feeling, and I think [it’s] really important to remember what it’s like to be a teenager…It’s a long period of your life and it was really traumatic in a lot of ways. It’s important to remember, ‘Oh this was horrible,’ but it was also fun and exciting and new, and I think we lose a lot of that the older we get, the more jaded we get with ‘real life’…I think [YA] really has that ability to touch younger kids because that’s their reality now, and to touch older people too because it brings them back to that reality they share. So it’s almost like common ground…I think it’s a really nice way to [bridge] age gaps.”
Jennifer E. Smith – http://www.jenniferesmith.com/
Suzanne Collins (The Hunger Games) – http://www.suzannecollinsbooks.com/
Veronica Roth (Divergent) – http://theartofnotwriting.tumblr.com/
More on Meg Cabot’s The Mediator series – http://www.megcabot.com/mediator/