Saturday, July 19, 2008

Thinking about YA

Liz just posted about Margo Rabb's essay in the New York Times: I'm Y.A., and I'm O.K. and it's perfect timing because YA is something I've been thinking about a lot lately. For me, YA tends to be "guilty pleasure" reading. Okay, I know, I know. Officially I don't believe in "guilty pleasure" reading. I'm a librarian. I respect everyone's right to read whatever they want to read.

But the fact of the matter is, my department serves kids up through 8th grade. So children's books and middle-grade novels can be considered helpful to my job. And when I read great adult books, I can recommend them to my mom or my aunts or my non-librarian friends*. And somehow YA gets left along the wayside, even though I love it so. I don't tend to make it a priority.

So what I've been planning is my Celebration of YA Literature, coming this fall. Since I'm taking time to read adult books this summer (due in no small part to my local library's Adult Summer Reading Club), this fall I'm taking time to read all the awesome YA books on my TBR list. I can read books for the SRC until August 31, so starting September 1 it's all about the YA.

It actually works out nicely since Teen Read Week is in October. I'm just kind of... expanding it for a month or so on each side. ;) And I'm working on a great TBR list. I've already got way, way more than I'll actually be able to read in a season and I'm so excited about digging in to all these great books!

It's funny because when I actually was a Young Adult, I definitely felt the stigma of YA lit and tended to avoid that section at the bookstore. Of course, once I started picking up some YA titles, I realized how great that "genre" is and now the YA shelves are often my first stop in the bookstore or library. It's a total shame that some adults feel like YA is beneath them and I suppose it's up to librarians, booksellers, and authors to show them how great books can be.

* And yes, I know I can and should recommend YA books to my friends... I know some of them will be more receptive than others. And I'm intrigued by Liz's idea of recommending YA books and not mentioning that they're YA... HMM.