Wednesday, April 7, 2010

The "why" of my wandering (and wondering)

Recently, I had an epiphany. A few points in my life came together and I decided they must be pointing me on a specific path, one I never would have imagined in my wildest dreams. Interest in YA lit. Now, I know this should seem incredibly strange to you. After all I am a high school English teacher. But YA lit has always seemed, well, childish to me.

Again, I know what you are thinking. Um, don't you teach teenagers English? Shouldn't you love YA lit? Yes, on some level I should. I admit that I am one of the few adults that actually likes teenagers. I have always wondered (hence the wondering of the blog title) why there seemed to be so few books that were actually suited to the ages of 14-18 that didn't reek of formulaic and stereotypical stories and characters.

Then a few incidents occurred. I will list them in no particular order of importance.

1. I have a YA manuscript, shelved and dusty. I wrote it about four years ago, maybe even more, and then let it fall by the wayside. I started a new manuscript lately too. And I started to take a look at some titles out there to see if my ideas were too formulaic too. (Of course, anything I wrote would have to be awesome, right? ahem.) Anyway, I decided I needed to start reading some more to find out if my gut feelings about YA lit were way off.

2. There was an incident in a school system concerning a book by an author that I have worked with before. (I totally dig her writing style...very influenced by flash fiction which I also heart as well.) It concerned some of the subject matter being too racy. I have read another of her books and sure, I could see it being a little racy. But have you met teenagers lately? Spend 40 minutes to an hour with a group and just observe. I doubt they picked it up reading books, so wouldn't it be interesting to get them thinking about what we consider taboo? Needless to say I was intrigued by the controversy. (I haven't talked to the author about it yet, but it might be nice to see if I could interview her and post it here...)

3. One night I was having a "discussion" with my husband. :) I think at one point I proclaimed myself an expert on teenage behavior. Well, if you consider it and state that they are completely unpredictable then you might also be an expert. Anyway, he said something about how I still thought like a teenager so of course I am. A normal adult may have been offended. (Not me. I'm on a boat!)

So why shouldn't I start reading and reviewing YA lit? Absolutely no reason.

So here I am. No turning back now.

(Please let there be good stuff out there!)


  1. Fantastic blog idea, Cheryl!

    Are you taking reading recommendations? If so, I highly recommend The Meaning of Consuelo by Judith Ortiz Cofer.

    You can check out some pages and a couple reviews on Amazon:

  2. Thanks, Janice. :)

    There are a few I know that I want to read, but I will definitely put that title on the list!