Saturday, March 04, 2006

My Teen Fiction Addiction

Every once in a while I need to read something different. I usually move between the fantasy, science fiction, and horror genres with an occasional side trip into mysteries.

Horror stories usually give me enough of the 'real world' to balance the otherworldly sense of fantasy and science fiction. Sometimes horror and even mysteries are not real enough and I turn to more mainstream fiction.

Mainstream adult fiction can bore me to tears. I find myself unable to identify with many of the themes. Fantasies of fame and riches, for example, can seem less believable than ghosts or aliens. Stories about addiction, abuse, and failure, can frustrate me because they are "too true".

For mainstream fiction I find 'Young Adult' books entertaining and thought provoking. I can identify with the problems of growing up and finding my place in the world. A good YA book will make me remember my own teenage years and think about how I have changed. It will also get me comparing my life with those of the characters.

In the last few years YA fiction has been getting better. The issues dealt with have been hard hitting and relevant. Other people think so too. Jennifer Hubert maintains Reading Rants: a website containing booklists for teens "who need a good read". In her FAQ's one of her reasons for maintaining the site is:

Because I think the level of teen literature has not only risen in the past ten years or so to rival literature that is written for adults, but has, in many cases, surpassed it in quality and scope. (#)

I like quality fiction that has big ideas and yet remains relevant. So when I need a bit of reality I browse the Young Adult section of my local bookstores.

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