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    The Power of a Book – At Any Age
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  • Published: Jun 3rd, 2009

Young Adult novels have eluded me for the longest time.  I had no knowledge of them when I was growing up. I think I went from reading Where the Wild Things Are and Goodnight Moon straight to Stephen King and Daphne du Maurier. I also vividly remember being captivated when I read A Tale of Two Cities and The Scarlet Letter. But I don’t’ think Dickens or Hawthorne had a young Puerto Rican teenage girl from the South East Bronx in mind when they wrote their books. That is to say there weren’t a whole lot of authors speaking to me and my experiences. I believe people, all people, need to see themselves reflected back in society. Whether it is through television, magazine ads, bill boards, our politicians, our teachers or the books we read. It’s very special, and yes even essential, that we get validation by being recognized in the culture we live in. Young Adult books are finally doing that.

With author Trish Milburn’s (aka Tricia Mills) monthly RNTV column of YA news (every third Thursday of the month), I’m beginning to get a sense of the scope of the literature that is available to young people.  This was reinforced at last weekends Book Expo America (BEA). Everywhere I turned publishers were highlighting their YA authors and books.

Rachel Vincent Book Signing

Rachel Vincent Book Signing

More and more young people are being exposed to and experiencing a world that has, for lack of a better phrase, come out of the closet and Judy Blume books are not enough for them.  Today young people are living with the 24 hour news and immediate and unfettered in your face information. Communication is instant. They live in single parent homes, two dad homes, two mom homes, foster homes and sometimes in no home at all. They deal with poverty, sex, pregnancy, abortion, drugs, alcohol, gangs, illness and death; and they’re not afraid to talk about it.  The books for today’s young adults not only address these issues and speak to their emotions but they also treat them like their lives, thoughts, issues and problems matter.  The books reflect their lives – and that’s powerful!

There is also an abundance of YA fantasy books available. This tells me that young adults, like old adults, every once and a while, need to escape. To be transported to a world not of their making. To a world that has no resemblance to the one their living in. (Isn’t that true for all of us?) The exciting thing is that young people are reading and authors are writing for this audience.

Melissa Mar Book Signing

Melissa Mar Book Signing

What I find truly amazing about today’s YA books (the one’s I’ve been reading) is that they have great cross over appeal in regards to age. I’m way past my young adult years and yet I’m captivated by many of these books. (It goes to show you, write a book well, tell a good story and you’ll always find an audience.) The power of a book, no matter who you are, no matter the gender or age, is waiting to be unleashed. Just turn to the first page and begin.



Quick question – I’m curious, what’s the first book you remember reading as a young adult?

11 Responses to “The Power of a Book – At Any Age”

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  1. Lisa from Temple
    on Jun 3rd, 2009
    @ 12:56 pm

    I remember reading the Nancy Drew series and the Baby Sitters Club books when I was younger. Looking back, I now realize the high improbabilty of an 18 year old being able to jet off to France and Turkey to solve cases on a moment’s notice, lol. But at the time, I loved them!

    As for the classics, I loved Little Women, and the Anne of Green Gables books. I still re-read them on occassion. I hope I’m not the only one who wishes Laurie had married Jo instead of that prissy spoiled Amy! lol.

    I read Tale of Two Cities in high school, and have to admit, I struggled with it a bit. But on the other hand, I loved Jane Austen, Shakespeare, The Crucible, The Great Gatsby, To Kill A Mockingbird, etc.

    And Marisa, I totally agree with you that the YA genre has come a long way and really speaks to the things teens are going through today!

    P.S. Maria and Marisa, for some reason, when I click on the blog entry for Lady Jane’s the text and comments don’t come up, I just get the title of the blog and this. My friend said the same thing when she logged on. Don’t know if it’s just us, but thought you guys might want to know!


  2. Teresa
    on Jun 3rd, 2009
    @ 1:08 pm

    I’m 22 and I have never read an young adult book until my cousin who is 29 told me to read the Twilight Saga’s. I was hooked. I read all four books in eight days. When I was a teenager I didn’t even know that there was YA books out there. So now I still read my adult romance but I will pick up a YA and check it out. I wasn’t a huge reader until I got out of school for some reason I picked up a book and now I read at least three books a week. So the first book I’ve read was Whitney, My Love by Judith McNaught, I was 16 so I really missed the YA genre unti my 20’s.


  3. KatiDancy
    on Jun 3rd, 2009
    @ 1:13 pm

    Ah, so many good memories for young reading:

    The Witch of Blackbird Pond
    Tiger Eyes
    Solitary Blue
    The Man Without a Face
    Fifteen

    I loved reading from a very young age, and always adored books about teenage girls.

    I have to say though, that I think YA is SO much better these days. I’m listening to Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr right now. It’s an extraordinary, lush and very dark book. It is truly superb!


  4. Marisa
    on Jun 3rd, 2009
    @ 4:37 pm

    Lisa, two of my favorite books are Anne of Green Gables and To Kill a Mockingbird. I read them when I was quite young, but a classic stays with you forever.

    (we think we’ve fixed the problem with Lady Jane’s blog)


  5. Marisa
    on Jun 3rd, 2009
    @ 4:40 pm

    Teresa, I’ve yet to read the Twilight books… soon, soon. Funny you mentioned Whitney My Love – Kati has challenged Maria to read it and they’ll be blogging about it in July.

    Kati, Stacey and Kate told me I MUST read Melissa Marr – so I’ve got my order in.


  6. AnimeGirl
    on Jun 3rd, 2009
    @ 5:20 pm

    The fist YA book I read was Princess in the Spotlight by Meg Cabot – thank you Spain Book Week where all books are at discount- when I got to go to the south of Spain when I was 18. So I started late.

    Princess in the Spotlight is the second book in the Princess Diaries series- which I didn’t know but I still loved- and introduced me to Meg Cabot and her other wonderful series both YA (like Mediator and 1-800) and Adult (Boy Books, Heather Wells) and now, seven years later I still read all her books.

    I completely agree that a good book will appeal to a person regardless of his or her age.

    One of my favorite book series ever, The Wedding Planner’s Daughter by Coleen Paratore is a tween book (not even a YA) and I read it when I was 22 and the only word I can use to describe it is Amazing. There is also the Bard Academy Series by Cara Lockwood, which are funny and smart and awesome (and I still hold a serious grudge against MTV books for not publishing more of them! I want my Heathcliff!!).

    And I could go on and on with amazing books and authors which I discovered after I stopped being a teenager but which still filled a literary hole in my heart that I didn’t even know it existed before.

    Absolutely must read books, besides The Wedding Planner’s Daughter and The Bard Academy Series,: Melina Marchetta’s books (it just doesn’t get more awesome her books), The True Meaning of Cleavage by Mariah Fredericks, and anything by Sarah Dessen. Oh, and The Song of The Sparrow by Lisa Sandell (if you like Arthurian Legends and kick-butt girls, this is the one for you).

    AG


  7. cyclops8
    on Jun 3rd, 2009
    @ 5:45 pm

    The first book I remember reading as a young adult was S.E. Hinton’s “The Outsiders.”


  8. Laura
    on Jun 3rd, 2009
    @ 6:05 pm

    Kati, I loved “Fifteen”. One of my favories, and cyclops8, I read The Outsiders atleast ten times, I’m sure it was more, and when the movie came out I had C. Thomas Howell posters and Mat Dillon posters ALL over my bedroom walls, but the series I loved the most, that probably turned me on to romance eventually, was the “Sweet Valley High” books. I devoured them in 7th grade. I also read a book called “P.S. I Love You”, I don’t know who wrote it, but my best friend and I took turns reading that one quite a bit too. It was sad though, the boy ended up dying of cancer in the end, the P.S. stood for Paul Storbe I love you. Anyone know what I’m talking about?


  9. Lisa from Temple
    on Jun 3rd, 2009
    @ 8:15 pm

    Oh, I loved Fifteen too! 🙂 In fact, I loved Bevarly Cleary when I was a little girl. I read all of the Ramona Quimby books, and another one of hers I really liked was Muggie Maggie and Mitch and Amy. (I know those are more kids books than YA, but still!)

    And yes, I devoured the Sweet Valley High books. But is it just me, or do the guys and gals on the covers of those books look NOTHING like teenagers? They looked much older to me, now that I’m looking back.

    But thanks to all of you for the book recommendations! 🙂

    Marisa-I just double checked and it’s still not working for me. Sorry. 🙁


  10. orannia
    on Jun 3rd, 2009
    @ 10:39 pm

    Where to start? Hmmm, Judy Blume’s Tiger Eye definitely springs to mind. I just loved that book. Also, Mercedes Lackey – I all but devoured The Last Herald Mage trilogy. I too read Beverly Cleary 🙂 And dare I say it, although this is less YA and more children’s books: Enid Blyton!


  11. Allison Creekmore » Blog Archive » Young Adult Books Have Come Out of the Closet
    on Aug 5th, 2010
    @ 9:47 pm

    […] http://www.romancenovel.tv/2009/06/03/young_adult_books/ Marisa is Vice President of Programming at Romance Novel […]