I’m not a young adult. Shocking. I’m kindasortamaybe a new adult? I suppose? Although that term makes it sound like we hatch adults out of eggs, rather than the stumbling, chaotic, unavoidable slide toward adulthood that actually occurs.
But I love young adult literature.
I love reading it, I love writing it, I love being part of the YA community.
I’ve been reading young adult lit since before I was a teenager, and I’ll probably still be reading it when I’m in a nursing home. I don’t write t for a high school do-over. My high school career, although mixed and full of some truly awkward moments, made me who I am today. I don’t need to redo it.
I don’t read it because I refuse to grow up. Honestly, I’m pretty good at this wine-sipping, business clothes wearing, grad-school attending adulthood thing. And I l enjoy being an adult! (Mostly. Except doing the dishes. And the taxes)
I love young adult literature because it captures the core of our emotions.
Even as adults, when we’re set off kilter, freed of adulthood type rules, when we’re tipsy or tired, stressed or in love, we act…well, like teenagers.
Our teen years are when we’re a confusing, exciting, contradictory, tragic, ecstatic mess. We laugh for hours over dumb inside jokes, and we’ll cry for days over a cruel off-handed comment. We’re not afraid of so many things because we don’t know enough to be. The future is open and bright and terrifying.
To me, YA lit captures all of that, those core moments that shape us for the rest of our lives: first kiss, first heartbreak, first hope, first failure. It’s the comet flashing neon-bright against the unchanging night-sky of adulthood.