Why I Read Outside YA

You know you're always told to read what you're writing? Well, yes, I read plenty of YA. But lately I've been struggling to find YA books I enjoy, mostly because all my favourite authors are writing continuations. And as a twenty-something, there are times when I need to read something else, and you know what? So do teenagers.

When I was 13, Point Horror wasn't cutting it any more.  Anybody else read Point Horror? I had loads of them! Anyway, they got too repetitive, so I decided to pick up "grown up" horror and read Domain by James Herbert. It was brilliant, and I wished more YA dealt with issues like it (it does now, but not so much when I was a teenager).  But, of course, adult books aren't meant for a wide-eyed, naive thirteen-year-old, so I returned to YA and discovered John Marsden's Tomorrow, When the War Began.  If you haven't read that series, FIND IT NOW.  War breaks out in Australia and a group of teenagers decide to fight back.  It's amazing, and it showed me how YA fiction can tackle huge, life-changing issues. I laughed, cried and had nightmares.  You must all read it! (Yes, that's one of my rare recommendations right there :P)

Throughout my teens, I switched between YA and adult fiction (why is there no way to say that without sounding like I'm reading NAUGHTY THINGS?!) and it became easier to find books that crossed over.  For Stephen King, there's Michael Grant.  For Ian Fleming, there's Anthony Horowitz.  YA and adult fiction don't exist independently of each other - they should (and do!) inspire each other.

The best YA books deal with huge issues without talking down to the readers. I think dipping in and out of books beyond YA encourages more of us to write about everything for teenagers.  The only difference is how you tune it into your audience using the right characters, settings and events.  The best example I can think of is Ian Fleming's James Bond and Charlie Higson's Young Bond.   Same character, same kinds of plots, but written with very different audiences in mind.

So yes, READ ALL THE BOOKS and let everything inspire you!

Here's what I'm reading!

And the best part? This is research!!!!

What are you all reading this weekend?

(Oh, and I will totally do that infodump post on Monday!)

Comments

  1. I'm working my way through The Worm Ouroboros which is a pretty tough read, but a vital piece of the foundation of modern fantasy.

    I've dedicated myself to reading fantasy for the next year or so because I became aware that my knowledge of my own genre was sorely lacking.

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    1. I hope you enjoy your reading project!

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  2. I'm writing YA, so I'm trying to read YA as much as I can. Thankfully, there's a lot of good (and great) YA out there to keep me busy. But I also read non-YA because there's a lot of good (and great) non-YA out there. And when it comes down to it, I like "a good story well-told" (that's the phrase I like to use--I haven't a clue if it's original), regardless of genre, critical acclaim, popular opinion, etc., and you can always learn from good writers, no matter what they write.

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    1. Read whatever takes your fancy, basically ;)

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  3. I re-read a paranormal romance (Linnea Sinclair's Gabriel's Ghost) to get inspired for my latest WIP. Sadly (or not!) I only read about a dozen pages, because I was too busy writing.

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    1. Not heard of that one. I'm on a bit of a crime kick ^^;

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  4. I read hardly any YA as a teen, mostly because the selection was comprised mostly of Sweet Valley High. Now I'm trying to read more YA, but definitely need my fill of non-YA books. So currently I'm reading EXTREMELY LOUD AND INCREDIBLY CLOSE, PORTRAIT OF A LADY, and AMERICAN GODS, none of which are YA (I just finished a YA book). And I'm loving it!

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