I used to be ashamed of my love for YA literature. When I was twelve, I saw the movie How to Deal, a mash-up of two Sarah Dessen books starring Mandy Moore. I LOVED it. It still is one of my favorite movies. So after seeing the movie, I immediately bought the movie tie-in book that included, Someone Like You and That Summer. After I devoured those books, I went through Dessen’s entire backlog of books and I was hooked. Young Adult literature had grabbed at my heart and it was never letting go.
After exploring other authors in the genre, I came across a biggie: my friend had read the first three Twilight books (Breaking Dawn hadn’t come out yet) of winter break and proceeded to shove the books into my arms. Oh man, if only she knew what she was doing when she gave me those books. Obsessed was a safe word to use about my time in the Twilight fandom. Let’s just say, my best friend and I (along with our mothers) made a trip to Forks, Washington. Yes, that Forks. It was actually the most fun I ever had on a trip. My Twilight love slowly waned as I got older and started recognizing how problematic it is, but I think it will always hold a special place in my heart because of the joy I had with my friends in the fandom.
As I moved through college, I still read my beloved YA. I took a children’s literature class and got the opportunity to write a paper on one of my favorite YA books. My parents and sister always poked fun of me, “When are you going to read big girl books?” and “Aren’t you a little old for those books?” So I hid them. Some kids hid drugs and alcohol, but I was the nerd sticking books far back in my closet so no one could see. I started reading “cool” books that I would find at used books stores down the street from my school. They ended up in stacks around my bedroom—never read, unconsciously out just for show.
The last few years, I decided to stop caring. Life is too short to be worried about what other people think. Why waste my time with reading books I think I should read when I could be reading books that I actually want to read. So now I let my love of YA be known to the world and in the past few years I’ve read more diversely and widely than ever before. I don’t rule out other genres—I read what I want, when I want to.