I probably should have become a young adult librarian. Instead, I am archivist. And, no that does not mean I work with bones. I work with papers and records, not library books.
I love young adult novels. Always have and always will. I started, back in the day, with Avi. The author wrote some great books. They were just dark enough and held plenty of mystery and intrigue. Some of the titles that were my favorites were The Truth About Charlotte Doyle, Blue Heron, and The Man that Was Poe, to name a few. Now, these books were written well before the Harry Potter and Twilight boom. They were pretty innocent, unlike Twilight’s series filled with hormone fueled sexual tension between vampires and humans. Lois Lowry is another writer that stands out to me from my youth. Lowry wrote The Giver, Number the Stars and others that changed my perspective on life and history.
Today, I am still a proud reader of these books. Recently, a new genre emerged called New Adult. Topics are racier, darker, and sometimes intensely scary. I love the new voices, though. The writing is superb. Cora McCormack’s Losing It is a great book, which I could not put down while on a vacation in January. If You Find Me by Emily Murdoch, had my undivided attention. I got lost in that book. She kept the suspense going all while writing extraordinarily strong prose.
Speaking of good prose, I believe the writing bar was raised by J.K. Rowling. I have enjoyed the Harry Potter series so much, despite being a reluctant late comer. Another great voice is R.J. Palacio, a woman who wrote a book called Wonder about a boy with a craniofacial difference, inspired by a trip she took with her children to an ice cream shop. Palacio saw that her children stared at a child with a facial difference and felt compelled to write a book that has inspired an entire population of young adults living with these conditions. Thank you, R.J.
I know all the books and emerging authors well, thanks to http://www.goodreads.com among a handful of other websites. I know I could find the right book for each tween or teen that would enter the library solely devoted to young adult books that exists only in my mind. Adults may come in too. We have seen more and more adults reading young adult books. Twilight, The Hunger Games, and others that they may not lay claim to devouring, surreptitiously on their Kindles.
They are fun and easy reads. After all, reading is about enjoyment, escapism, and allowing our imaginations run amok. Reality can be harsh. Why not slip on out of it for a bit.
Yup, I think I would make a good young adult librarian…or bookstore purveyor. Hmm..now there’s an even better idea.
P.S. How could I forget my most recent read Evan Roskos pitch perfect Dr. Bird’s Advice for Sad Poets, where he seamlessly weaves in quotations from Walt Whitman’s poems into a plot about a depressed, teenage boy from a troubled home that seeks therapeutic help from an imaginary doctor, Dr. Bird. In the end, he is saved by his “Barbaric Yawp” and the creativity that he finds within himself.