Why I read Y.A. Fiction

A few years ago, Top Ender had been reading a book at School that she knew I would love and wanted to discuss with me, so she asked her teacher if she could take a copy home for me to read. The teacher agreed that she could but on the one condition that she should bring it back the next morning as it was one of only a few copies that the School had and they were using them in guided reading for multiple groups, on different days. Top Ender knowing that the size of the book was one I could devour in a matter of minutes, readily agreed and brought the book home. The book was Wonder by R J Palacio (the pen name of Raquel Jaramillo) and come bedtime I sat in bed and started to read the book.

Wonder by R J Palacio

A couple of hours later and I'd read it and sent it back to school with Top Ender the next morning with strict instructions to tell her teacher that I had loved it so much I had purchased a copy on Amazon for our personal library and also the follow-up novel! As you may have guessed, I am and always have been a voracious reader and read around 1000 words a minute when I'm in the "zone", much to the annoyance of my parents and husband who have to keep supplying me with new books...

The reading of Wonder and then a few other books that were in Top Ender's teacher's personal library started a trend with several of Top Ender's teachers sending home books that they thought I would love, or that Tops was reading so I could add to the discussion at home. It honestly was bliss, as I didn't have to search out new books, they were just being sent home with my daughter!

Liar & Spy by Rebecca Stead

It was also slightly less embarrassing than going to the local library and scouring the shelves for the latest young adult or youth fiction in the hopes of finding something that was well written and would give me something to think about.

Despite being an adult, I've read YA fiction for as long as I can remember. I find that the stories aren't all just summer romance but deal with subjects that as an adult I want to understand more about too and most of the modern adult fiction available to me these days doesn't deal with it in the same way. Plus, I always think you should read a book before you watch the movie and most film releases these days are based on books written for the YA market!

Then Tops left the Lower School and went to Senior School.

Luckily several of the teachers at the lower School still sent home books for me to read, only now the books were given to Dan Jon instead of Top Ender and he is in the middle of an Enid Blyton phase, which both Flyfour and I have never grown out of.

Maggot Moon by Sally Gardner

Top Ender was now reading a lot more, as I set her a challenge to read all the books in her School library, just like I had when I went to Senior School.

And yet, Top Ender and I were missing the discussions we used to have on character motivation, on plot development and just why the author was wrong or right to kill off character X or have the story end the way it did. As Top Ender also read a lot more than her friends and a lot of books that her friends weren't reading, she really had nobody to discuss these stories with.

Before I knew it the pile of books designated as my "To be read" pile was suddenly filled with dystopian future novels that Top Ender adores and I stupidly search out for her.

One of Top Ender's many book shelves filled with YA Fiction

You know what? I wouldn't swap it for the world. These stories offer an escape, they offer an alternative way to learn and learn how to deal with the same situations you deal with in your own life... and they give me something else to talk with my daughter about!