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Why Do You Love YA?

Forums Fiction General Writing Discussions Why Do You Love YA?

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  • #142813
    R.M. Archer
    @r-m-archer

    Yeah, there’s a lot of junk out there for teens (which was why I moved away from reading in that category when I was in highschool. It’s depressing.)

    Yeah, I haven’t read much in YA aside from specific, trusted authors in… a while. Though I can still see benefit to reading it, if you’re able to avoid the worst of the junk. Wrote a blog post on that, actually. Reading YA is just a draining experience for me at this point more than an edifying one, and though that’s not always a bad thing if you’re aware of it, I’ve needed to take more in recently so I’ve been gravitating toward non-fiction and classics, lol.

    But I think that’s awesome that you’re looking out for your sisters, and that you have a passion to minister to fellow teens! Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts.

    Thanks for asking! I appreciate the discussion. ^-^

    Fahrenheit 451

    I love this book.

    I need to read Animal Farm, too. 1984 has been on my TBR, but between hearing about some more explicit content in it and reading some reviews that indicate Animal Farm is better (I think C.S. Lewis compared the two in passing in one of his essays? I could be remembering wrong), I’m inclined to read Animal Farm at least first if not instead. ;P

    Speculative fiction author. Mythology nerd. Worldbuilding enthusiast. Singer. Fan of classic literature.

    #142825
    imwritehere1920
    @imwritehere1920

    @r-m-archer

    “Reading YA is just a draining experience for me at this point more than an edifying one, and though that’s not always a bad thing if you’re aware of it, I’ve needed to take more in recently so I’ve been gravitating toward non-fiction and classics, lol.”

    Ah, what’s your favorite classic or nonfiction book so far?  Are you needing to take more in to get ideas for a story?

    I’ve heard about 1984, but didn’t realize there was explicit content in it; thanks for the heads up.  So far, Animal Farm has been good, content wise (course, I haven’t gotten too far into it.)

    I’ve toyed with the idea of writing YA in the future (nothing definite yet), but I don’t really read those kinds of books.  So instead, I’ve sorta ‘cheated’ by skimming the blurbs of YA books when I’m in the bookstore, on Goodreads, or at the library to get an idea of the common tropes/cliches of YA, so if I do write in that genre, I know not to fall into them (and that way I don’t have to read the whole thing. *haha*)

     


    @sparrowhawke

    I’m mostly focusing on writing MG, though I do have an idea for a future YA book (but it’s still too early, and there’s a lot to work out character and plotwise.  Also, I’m sorta swamped with my MG projects; the characters refuse to leave me alone XD)  Also, Gary D. Schmidt sounds vaguely familiar, but I don’t think I’ve read his books yet.

    What’s the premise to your current WIP, if you don’t mind me asking?

    We are all apprentices in a craft where no one ever becomes a master. — Ernest Hemingway

    #142826
    R.M. Archer
    @r-m-archer

    Ah, what’s your favorite classic or nonfiction book so far?

    I’ve enjoyed so many, and a lot of them for different reasons. XD LOTR is great in the classics category (of course). I’ve been meaning to reread it soon. And Lewis’s Space Trilogy is underrated. If you go really classic, Plato’s Atlantis dialogues are fascinating. I had so much fun making notes in the margins on those.

    As far as non-fiction goes, Andrew Peterson’s Adorning the Dark is amazing. Can’t recommend it enough. And C.R. Wiley’s books are also excellent.

    But honestly, I could make a loooooong list of classics and non-fiction books I’ve loved. XD

    Are you needing to take more in to get ideas for a story?

    In part it’s for the sake of my writing–I’m finding classics to be great for learning more about deep prose and themes, and I’ve ended up taking concepts and ideas from non-fiction for my worlds and stories, as well–but it’s more just for my own mental and spiritual well-being, lol.

    I think YA was easier for me to read when it was one worldly thing amidst my overwhelmingly godly surroundings; but as the world has further decayed and it’s become harder to avoid and I’ve outgrown a couple of the godly communities I was a part of in high school, I’ve found I need more godly–or at the very least thoughtful and edifying–content to balance things out again. As a general rule, classics have a much better grasp of human nature and the importance of deep thought than modern fiction does. And non-fiction inspires thought simply by nature of being real. So I find that my worldview is better challenged and honed these days by classics and non-fiction than by the YA fiction that used to challenge and hone my worldview (though it did so in different ways).

    Speculative fiction author. Mythology nerd. Worldbuilding enthusiast. Singer. Fan of classic literature.

    #142827
    Bethany
    @sparrowhawke

    @imwritehere1920

    Gary D. Schmidt’s most well-known book is probably The Wednesday Wars. I’ve read almost all of his books and I highly, highly recommend them!

     

    I have a few WIPs I procrastinate working on, but the last one I worked on is a fantasy that plays with the chosen one trope. I suppose it would be considered YA, but I don’t care much about audience this early in the writing process. If you go to the ‘Audio Cinema’ thread, the excerpt I posted (it’s one of the first posts) is the piece that sparked this idea. I’m still figuring out the magic and plot and all the things, but I really love it so far. It’s similar to The False Prince by Jennifer Nielsen and The Thief by Meghan Whalen Turner in terms of character, voice, and the kind of plot twists.

     

    To add to the discussion on YA books in general…I find that I read YA for fun. I’m not expecting in-depth themes or amazing writing–although I’m very pleased when I do find those in YA–but instead engaging plots and characters. I think it’s important to have a balanced reading ‘diet’; I personally read YA, MG, classics, and nonfiction. YA and MG are my fun reads–classics are my thought-provoking reads.

     

    I also don’t like the idea that what makes adult fiction adult fiction is adult content. And now we’re seeing that mindset with YA–that YA has to be more gritty and dark and vulgar. Obviously YA is going to deal with more mature topics than MG, and an adult fic more so than a YA, but those topics and themes should be handled carefully and they should not be requirements for a story to be YA or adult. It seems that if you want to write a story for teens these days it has to include all this ‘mature’ content or deal with some heavy topic. Why can’t we just have normal stories of growing up? One of my favorite books that I consider YA is The Eagle of the Ninth. I’ve hesitated in the past to call older books YA because I thought, “Well, they’re just so ‘clean’; they’re too young for YA.” Now I realize that’s faulty thinking.

    "Can't have dirty garbage."

    #143077
    imwritehere1920
    @imwritehere1920

    @r-m-archer

    Sorry for the late reply!

    Those sound like interesting reads.  I also like to read nonfiction to inspire new story ideas; and yes, some classics really get you to think.  Have you ever read Jane Eyre or A Separate Peace? (The latter has some choice words, from what I remember, but other than that, it really made you think.)

    “I think YA was easier for me to read when it was one worldly thing amidst my overwhelmingly godly surroundings; but as the world has further decayed and it’s become harder to avoid and I’ve outgrown a couple of the godly communities I was a part of in high school, I’ve found I need more godly–or at the very least thoughtful and edifying–content to balance things out again.”

    Yeah, the world is growing darker and it’s hard to find that godly influence.  Where I live, it’s hard to just find a good church and good friends.  How about you?  Do you have a strong church base?

    We are all apprentices in a craft where no one ever becomes a master. — Ernest Hemingway

    #143078
    imwritehere1920
    @imwritehere1920

    @sparrowhawke

    Hey, sorry it took awhile to reply.

    Your story idea sounds cool; are you going to do NaNoWriMo this year?

    Oh, my family loves The False Prince!  We’re reading the fifth book in the series right now, and loving it.  How far along in the series have you gotten?

     

    “I also don’t like the idea that what makes adult fiction adult fiction is adult content. And now we’re seeing that mindset with YA–that YA has to be more gritty and dark and vulgar. Obviously YA is going to deal with more mature topics than MG, and an adult fic more so than a YA, but those topics and themes should be handled carefully and they should not be requirements for a story to be YA or adult. It seems that if you want to write a story for teens these days it has to include all this ‘mature’ content or deal with some heavy topic. Why can’t we just have normal stories of growing up?”

    So true!  It would be nice if we could have YA stories about growing up, learning to get a job, deal with normal changes like college and friends moving away, etc, without getting dark or adding pages of mature content.

    We are all apprentices in a craft where no one ever becomes a master. — Ernest Hemingway

    #143079
    R.M. Archer
    @r-m-archer

    Have you ever read Jane Eyre or A Separate Peace? (The latter has some choice words, from what I remember, but other than that, it really made you think.)

    I haven’t. I own Jane Eyre and I’ve been meaning to read it, but I haven’t gotten that far down the physical TBR yet. (I have way too much of a physical TBR, lol.) I’ll look into A Separate Peace, too.

    Yeah, the world is growing darker and it’s hard to find that godly influence. Where I live, it’s hard to just find a good church and good friends. How about you? Do you have a strong church base?

    I’ve found the same thing.

    I have a church I attend. I have history and good fellowship with some of the folks there, but overall there’s not a whole lot of connection at this point. So from a fellowship standpoint… eh? But I haven’t been going that long, so I’m hoping that’ll change… We’ll see. I haven’t had a whole lot of luck with in-person fellowship, unfortunately; I tend to find more encouragement from Christians I know online. But the teaching is fairly solid and there’s some community, so it’s at least better than nothing in-person.

    So true! It would be nice if we could have YA stories about growing up, learning to get a job, deal with normal changes like college and friends moving away, etc, without getting dark or adding pages of mature content.

    Exactly! We need more YA that actually tackles coming-of-age themes again instead of, as my mom puts it, showing “all the adult vices with none of the adult responsibility.” Because really that’s what ends up happening in a lot of YA. Though there are, of course, some good exceptions. (Chasing Jupiter by Rachel Coker and the A Time To Die series by Nadine Brandes come to mind.)

    Speculative fiction author. Mythology nerd. Worldbuilding enthusiast. Singer. Fan of classic literature.

    #143107
    Bethany
    @sparrowhawke

    @sparrowhawke Hey, sorry it took awhile to reply. Your story idea sounds cool; are you going to do NaNoWriMo this year? Oh, my family loves The False Prince! We’re reading the fifth book in the series right now, and loving it. How far along in the series have you gotten?

    I don’t think I’ll be attempting NaNo to any degree this year. I’m just too busy. How about you?

    I’ve only read the first False Prince book. I might read the other ones eventually, but from what I’ve gathered, I might not end up liking them very much. How do they compare to the first book? Have you read The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner? It’s similar to The False Prince with a sarcastic, unreliable narrator and lots of plot twists. I’ve only read the first book in that series as well, but it seems more promising to me.

    "Can't have dirty garbage."

    #143173
    imwritehere1920
    @imwritehere1920

    @r-m-archer

    I’ve read Fawkes by Nadine Brandes and really enjoyed it!

    I also hope in person-fellowship works out at your church and you find that connection.  🙂

     


    @sparrowhawke

    No, I won’t be able to do NaNoWriMo this year either. Actually, November can get a bit busy as we get ready for the holidays (in this case, getting/making Xmas gifts early to send to family who moved out of state this year, etc.)

    It’s been awhile since I’ve read the first few books in the False Prince series, but I really liked the fifth book (I just recently finished it.)  Also, I’ve heard of Megan Whalen Turner, but I haven’t read her works yet. (My virtual tbr may be a bit too tall at this point XD)

    We are all apprentices in a craft where no one ever becomes a master. — Ernest Hemingway

    #143177
    R.M. Archer
    @r-m-archer

    @imwritehere1920 I enjoyed Fawkes; I found I didn’t connect with it as well as the Out of Time series, unfortunately, but I’d like to reread it at some point anyway. It was certainly well-done, and I’ve found I sometimes connect better with books that weren’t my favorite when I reread them later.

    Thank you. I hope so, too. 🙂

    Speculative fiction author. Mythology nerd. Worldbuilding enthusiast. Singer. Fan of classic literature.

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