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Why I Love YA | A History of the Genre & What Makes It Special, by Emlyn Chand, Farsighted

This is a guest post by Emlyn Chand, author of Farsighted. We’ll be hosting Emlyn on her blog tour properly on November 24th, but here’s a little introduction to why she wrote Farsighted, a young adult novel. Find out more about Emlyn & her debut novel, Farsighted, in the notes below this post.

For years, I focused on reading classic literature with the occasional YA novel thrown in as a fun change. But you know what? I’m done moving back and forth between what I think I need to be reading and what I know I want to read. I’m making YA my official genre du jour. And what’s not to love?

 

Let’s take a quick journey back to the beginning of it all…

 

The 1930s were the decade when Juvenile Literature first asserted itself as a genre with books such as Boylston’s Sue Barton series and Rose Wilder Lane’s Let the Hurricane Roar. In the 1950s, JD Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye further defined the protagonists of this genre —those who are not quite grown-ups, but aren’t kids either, those who are in the process of discovering who they are and how they fit into the world around them.

 

It’s clear that the success of a certain boy wizard (does he even need to be named?) brought readers to YA in droves. And from there, literature for a young adult audience is absolutely everywhere.

 

Of all the great material that is available, YA may have the widest readership — with middle grade children wanting to read a step ahead, adults wanting to remember what it was like to be young and, of course, with the teenage audience for which the books are primarily focused.

 

I am 26, and I love YA literature.

 

It, like other genres, allows for an escape from your own reality, as you become enmeshed in an exciting, fictional world. It features characters who are malleable and who grow into themselves during the course of the novel. It’s often fast-paced and exciting, using a style of prose that is engaging and easy-to-read. If a YA book strikes a chord with you, you may be able to pick up with its adventures again, if the novel has been turned into a series, trilogy or saga. And guess what, there are actual happy ending sometimes, woo hoo! So which YA books have I read and enjoyed?

 

I’m a Harry Potter nut, of course. I’m also coo coo for Hunger Games and most recently, Matched. I’ve enjoyed series such as: Percy Jackson and the Olympians, The City of Ember, Twilight, and His Dark Materials. Louis Sachar’s Holes also kicked butt, and I look forward to reading The Tiger Seriesby Colleen Houck. The truth is, I’ve only avowed my devotion to this genre quite recently–about a year-and-a-half ago, actually. Just six short months before I decided that YA was so happenin’, so exciting, I just had to write it myself!

 

Much of what I’ve read has been multi-book series, which means I haven’t yet discovered all of the great literature that’s out there, just waiting for me to pick it up and enter its compelling world of adventure, excitement, and intrigue. Please, humble book-blog reader, which YA novels are your favorites? Let’s generate a go-to list of reading gems and discover the favorite books we haven’t gotten the chance to read yet.  

Blog Tour Notes

THE BOOK:  Alex Kosmitoras may be blind, but he can still “see” things others can’t.  When his unwanted visions of the future begin to suggest that the girl he likes could be in danger, he has no choice but to take on destiny and demand it reconsider. Get your copy today by visiting Amazon.com’s Kindle store or the eBook retailer of your choice. The paperback edition will be available on November 24 (for the author’s birthday).

THE CASH PRIZES:  Guess what? You could win a $100 Amazon gift card as part of this special blog tour. That’s right! Just leave a comment below saying something about the post you just read, and you’ll be entered into the raffle. I could win $100 too! Please help by voting for my blog in the traffic-breaker poll. To cast your vote, visit the official Farsighted blog tour page and scroll all the way to the bottom. Thank you for your help with that.

THE GIVEAWAYS:  Win 1 of 10 autographed copies of Farsighted before its paperback release by entering the giveaway on GoodReads. Perhaps you’d like an autographed postcard from the author; you can request one on her site.

THE AUTHOR:  Emlyn Chand has always loved to hear and tell stories, having emerged from the womb with a fountain pen grasped firmly in her left hand (true story). When she’s not writing, she runs a large book club in Ann Arbor and is the president of author PR firm, Novel Publicity. Emlyn loves to connect with readers and is available throughout the social media interweb. Visit www.emlynchand.com for more info. Don’t forget to say “hi” to her sun conure Ducky!

MORE FUN: There’s more fun below. Watch the live action Farsighted book trailer and take the quiz to find out which character is most like you!  

 

 

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9 thoughts on “Why I Love YA | A History of the Genre & What Makes It Special, by Emlyn Chand, Farsighted

  1. Wow, thanks for all the wonderful suggestions, everyone. I split my reading between YA and lit fic–love ‘em both equally but in very different ways. The points you’ve made about the merit of YA are excellent. And, no, I do not find it fair to make a blanket statement that YA writers can’t write. It’s a different style of writing, sure. The issue with some of the books mentioned (particularly HP) may be related to a distaste for the fantasy genre but not a lack of quality on the part of YA writers. I still, and will always, consider JK Rowling literary God :-D

  2. Which YA novels are my favourites? Well, I LOVE the Leviathan trilogy, Rot&Ruin, (plus Dust and Decay, too!) Clockwork Angel, and the Nick Chronicles are a few of my faves on my book shelf right now ^_^

  3. The thing to remember when trying a YA book on for size is the intended audience. YA is always about the time in life where senses are heightened, emotions are rampant, and even the littlest thing feels like the end of the world. I Love YA books because the writers lack pretension. Some are strong writers with much life experience to share and some are new writers with a great story but simplistic sentence structure. Either way the idea comes across all the same there is a cord and it has been struck. Whether it is feeling like you are not alone in your problems or just plain a need to escape the reality. YA writers offer something we all need whether 12 or 72. The characters touch on a time that seriously influences who we become as adults. I personally love YA because as I’ve grown up and moved on I can see the value in this time of peoples lives and feel that even if the writing is simplistic the story still does it’s job by entertaining and getting kids to read that maybe otherwise wouldn’t.

  4. I LOVE the YA genre; I’m 21 and have been reading those books since I was about 9. You’ve covered many of my favorite series as well.

    An author I highly recommend is Tamora Pierce, particularly any of her Tortall books, although the Circle of Magic series is very good as well. She’s wonderfully prolific although some of her books are a bit on the juvenile side.

    A great standalone book is 13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher. Its not what I’d call a happy book but its a fantastic read.

    I’m glad you’ve already covered Hunger Games because I could literally talk about those books for days.

    Good luck on your YA journey :)

  5. I love how you clarified the merits of YA.

    After hearing the books that you have read, I’d suggest the Beautiful Creatures series by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl. Also, try Wings by Aprilynne Pike. These are both series as well, but I find that’s another part of the appeal; sometimes when the characters have a happy ending, actually you get to find out that the ending is really the start to another great adventure.

  6. My grandchildren introduced me to YA. It began with Harry Potter, Twilight and Percy Jackson. My 12 year old grandson insisted I read The Hunger Games. He couldn’t stop talking about it until I did and then we dicussed it all the time. Now when we go to the library I head for the YA section with my grand daughter and she suggests books she has heard were good. I have opened a new new chapter in my reading life.

    Great post, thanks. I hope everyone sees that YA is not just for kids, even grandmas enjoy them.

  7. Because everyone has said how wonderful the Harry Potter books are I gave in and read the first book one day last week.

    To say that I was underwhelmed would be putting it mildly. The writing was sophomoric (I guess that fits with the intended audience), but the plot was lacking, no (or hardly any) character building, motivations, etc.

    Maybe because I’m not as close to the intended age group, maybe because I never read YA lit (even as a kid I read “adult” books because that’s what was around the house). Maybe I just prefer better books. But whatever the reason I’ll be staying away from YA lit.

    Since the HP books have been praised as the best thing since sliced bread I say “gimme some Russian Dark Rye, I’ll cut it myself” and stick to books by writers that write well, or at least better.

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