My Love-Hate Relationship with Young Adult Novels

Like every teen girl, I went through a phase where I was obsessed with young adult novels. From The Hunger Games series to The Fault in Our Stars, I have read it all. My childhood was filled with last-minute trips to the library to pick up that newly released YA novel. To say the least, my relationship with these types of novels soon evolved into something that was more than just an obsession. It became my life.

When I first started to read YA novels in sixth grade, I only considered it a source of entertainment. A way for me to escape reality. A safe haven. I lived through the characters of Katniss Everdeen and Hazel Lancaster. Their journey in the novel became my journey. I became so emotionally invested and attached to these characters. When I was younger, my parents would often walk into my room and find me sobbing over the death of a beloved character or screaming because my favorite couple reunited. This became routine. 

During my childhood, I have quit many activities like ice-skating and swimming, but reading was never one of them. It was the one constant in my life. It provided me with comfort, excitement, and joy. 

I never grew tired of the formulaic structure of YA novels. Most of them began with a boy and a girl who grew up in different worlds but eventually found comfort in each other and their friendship evolved into a relationship. All of them ended with the death of a beloved character, separation of a couple due to a barrier, or occasionally a happy ending. Despite the use of this trite formula, most YA novels are New York Times best sellers. Their success and popularity among the teen fanbase has lead to dozens of movie adaptations. Like their novel counterparts, the movies have achieved world wide economic success. Some examples include Everything Everything, Divergent, and Perks of Being a Wallflower.

My parents were never as big of a fan of YA novels as me. They constantly reminded me to read non-fiction books or novels with much more substance. They did not believe that I could learn anything out of young adult novels and viewed them as a waste of time and space. I was quick to defend my hobby. 

Contrary to what my parents think, YA novels have taught me countless lessons about life. From The Fault in Our Stars, I learned the importance of valuing life and appreciating every moment. The Hunger Games taught me that with perseverance and teamwork, dreams can be achieved. In addition, each novel gave me more insight about the value of friends and family. These novels educated me in topics that are not found in the classroom. 

These novels also allowed me to connect with my friends. No matter what activities my friends and I did, we all had our love for young adult novels in common. Every day at school, I look forward to chatting with my friends about which novels they had read and which character was their favorite. YA novels were also a great conversation-starter when making new friends. 

In addition, my sister and I loved bonding over our shared love for young adult novels. Our bookshelves were filled with racks and racks of our favorite novels. We would often stay up late discussing our thoughts regarding the ending of the book. Often times when either a new, highly-anticipated novel was available to pre-order or a YA movie was premiering in theatres, we would be the first ones in line. Our dedication to reading was unwavering. These novels brought us closer than ever. 

My relationship with young adult novels soon began to have a negative influence on my life. The romantic relationships in these novels gave me false hope and high expectations for my own romantic relationships. Before I knew it, I was hoping that my love life would mirror the relationships in the novels. After much disappointment,  I soon realized that life is not a young adult novel. Relationships are often unpredictable and can have many curve balls. These novels are not a guide to a real sustaining relationships. They are simply a source of entertainment and nothing more.

Through my six year relationship with young adult novels, there have been plenty of ups and downs. In hindsight, I will never regret the hundreds of hours I spent reading. The thrill and exhilaration theses books gave me can not be found anywhere else. However, like all good things, my relationship with young adult novels must come to an end. 

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