Why YA Lit?


Young adult literature has always been one of my favorites genres, probably since I’m not too far out of my teen years. As a future teacher, I need to be knowledgeable—and dare I say it—passionate about the books my students will be reading.

This week, I’ve been reading A LOT. I’ve read while walking to classes, walking to and from practice, sitting in the ice baths, and riding home from a meet. I’ve read for hours on end, curled on a couch and nestled up in my blankets on my bed. In the quiet moments of shedding tears for a character and wondering how anything is going to possibly work out, I wonder why I ever take breaks from reading.

Shannon Hale makes a wonderfully compelling case for the popularity of YA lit topics and why they shouldn’t been seen as tired or cliche.

I believe that teenagers need those years to get messy, to make mistakes, to fall in love all the time instantly and slowly with him/her, then him/her, to complain, to fight, to struggle for independence but then still need comfort and safety, to live an entire lifetime condensed into a few volatile, fascinating, difficult, beautiful years.

Some of the YA books I have read have made me roll my eyes at the over used plot-line and the dramatics of the story. Hale’s article showed me that I should be ecstatic about what my students are interested in.

I’m sure I’m not the only one who has a comfort zone. My zone is contemporary and romantic young adult literature. This semester, I have been trying to grow my horizons by exploring the world of the graphic novel. I’m also trying to dip my toes into the fantasy and mystery genres.


Photo by Eric Chan (Flickr)

If I’m going to truly and try and reach students who are reluctant readers, or even just at a loss for where to go next, I need to have a wide and sweeping knowledge of YA lit. My favorite genres are not going to cut it. I firmly believe that in order to foster a love for reading in my students; I need to have this love first to show.

This year, I am going to accept YA lit for the emotional, consuming, and raw mess it is. I am going to consume everything I can get my hands on for the students I will soon have.


12 responses to “Why YA Lit?

  1. I don’t think I could do ice baths, but maybe the books help not to think about it :oD. I LOVE the you a passionate for YA, and your students will be lucky because of it!

    • I definitely don’t enjoy the ice baths, but they are kind of essential to me. The books help–that’s for sure. Thank you for the compliment! That’s very sweet of you. I owe it to my students to be the best I can be!

  2. Sounds like you’ve been reading a ton this week, Nicky! I absolutely love your post. The quote that you pulled from Hale’s article is so beautiful. Your students will be incredibly lucky to have you as a teacher someday! 🙂

  3. I’m glad someone finally listened about the Jason Reynolds books! Have you read Gilead yet? A friend gave it to me and I didn’t get through it. Maybe I should try again but I don’t have a lot of time for fun reading right now.

  4. I had not read much of what I wanted to read since I got to college. I just read what I was assigned and quit reading. This class has made me realize how much I miss reading a good teen romance or fantasy novel. Great blog post!

  5. I just love that image of you walking around campus reading a book! Graphic novels are just about my favorite books ever now, so I hope you will find several to fall in love with this semester. I never read YA mysteries, so that’s a genre I should explore too. Not even sure where I’d start! Off to research! And yes to being passionate. I feel like other people try to shame us out of our enthusiasm, and I spent too many years trying to temper my energy and passion and act cool and collected. No more!

    • I was very proud of myself for not tripping! I did come close a couple times. Let me know if you find any great mysteries. I’m a little a lot loss for that genre.

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