Hey, everyone! :) Today, I have a special guest collaborating with me to talk a bit on the topic of YA Literature. I hope you enjoy our little interview & join in on the discussion! Please welcome Sunny from A Splash of Ink...
(My comments are in bold lettering & Sunny's are in the normal font.)
-Hey, Sunny! Welcome to Plottinger Twist. Thanks for "stopping by" for a while... Lol! :)
-Thanks for inviting me! I'm honored to have been asked to "stop by". Thank you!
-So, to get started, let's talk about you for a bit. What is your favorite reading genre & why?
-Hmm, this is a hard one. I tend to be a moody reader. I'm go for a few months where all I read is Fantasy, then I'll get bored and switch to Contemporary or Historical Fiction. I have different favourites depending on my mood at the time. That being said, Fantasy holds a special place in my heart. I love the world-building aspect of it and the opportunities for characters to do really adventurous things. The Fantasy genre definitely offers that element of escapism, which is something I love about reading.
-Are you more of a mix & match reader, (some YA here, a few classics there, & a kiddy book somewhere in the mix,) or are you a die-hard one-genre-only reader?
-Over the past few years I've been working really hard to broaden my reading horizons. Not only does reading different genres make me a more well rounded reader, but it also helps me be a better writer. I've ventured out into the scary world of non-fiction and feel relatively comfortable there now. I've also been reading more adult fiction books, but my heart is with the YA books. As I'm an English major, I read classics for school and appreciate them, but I would never choose them of my own freewill. I definitely need to read more MG books, but I'm not sure where to start (this is where you lovely people make suggestions, tehe).
-Which book(s) can you remember reading when you were young that sparked your interest for reading more?
-I remember one of my teachers read Judy Blume's Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing out loud to my class and I loved that. I also loved Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys, which were both gateway books to the entire mystery genre for me. If we go back even further than that, I'd have to say that my mom really invested in my sister and I. She read us SO MANY pictures books from the library. A few favourites were Franklin, Bernstein Bears, Elliot Moose books, and Amelia Bedelia.
-Okay, let's start to shift gears a bit... YA Literature, which is generally geared towards 15-20ish year olds, is growing in popularity. How do you feel about the genre as a whole ?
-If you haven't picked it up yet, I love YA lit. I think this genre is the perfect bridge that solidifies the love to reading in kids as they grow into adulthood. What I find really interesting about this growing genre is that a lot of adults are reading YA books. There's something appealing about these books that are "supposed" to be for teenagers. I think it's great that people are realizing that a good story transcends age.
-I see pros and cons to this popular style of writing... What positive things do you think can come from these sorts of books?
-You can say that again. I think the strength of the YA genre is the readability. They are un-intimidating to people who aren't big readers. Even though the stories can deal with the same serious themes as adult books, YA books are usually written in a style that caterers to a reader who isn't interested in pages of description or dense text that can be seen as "artful" or "distinguished" in adult books.
-How about negative things?
-The negative is definitely the lack of originality. YA books tend to get published in trends: werewolves/vampires (Twilight), dystopians (The Hunger Games), urban fantasy (Harry Potter) etc. You see the same story tropes being used in all the genres of YA, but it's especially bad in contemporary. There's only so many story lines that can take place in a high school setting, so it can be hard to find a book with a story that feels fresh and not like you've read it already.
-When looking at the contrast between the good & bad, do you think one outweighs the other?
-Definitely the good. Personally, I find that if I balance my reading habits to limit my intake of YA then I enjoy it much more; it stops that cynicism from creeping in.
-I've noticed that most YA seems to follow a...pattern? (Teenager has a secret power/is a unique individual, has a dysfunctional family, creates a love-triangle by meeting two attractive people, has to choose between the two & save the world in the process!) There isn't necessarily anything "wrong" with this plot line at all. But what do you think about these YA stereotypes? Do you think these plots are overrated/overdone?
-As I've said already, these story lines can be a big negative. It's true that there's nothing new under the sun, but there are fresh ways to approach these patterns. If you think about it, we all experience the same basic relationship/life problems but our unique personalities are what make each scenario unfold differently. The same should work for books. If you create characters that are deep and well rounded and put them in these "pattern" problems then it won't matter if the basic story line has been used before, because your characters will respond differently, making the story interesting.
-Are there any YA novels that come to mind as being mind-blowing because of their uniqueness?
-These are the ones that pop into my brain first (although I'll probably think of a few more in the middle of the night): Graceling by Kirsten Cashore. Beka Cooper: Terrier by Tamora Pierce. Graffiti Moon by Cath Crowley. GM takes those common "patterns" but uses deep characters to make the story original.
-Do you think that the YA phase will last long and become our generation's version of classic novels?
-It's hard to say, but at the rate we're going, I'd say it's here to stay! It's funny to think that Twilight or Harry Potter might be the future's version of Pride and Prejudice or Frankenstein. Who knows!
-Lastly, what is your favorite YA novel & why?
-This is kind of a strange, unpopular choice, but I love Tamora Pierce's Beka Cooper: Terrier. The world building is spot on and the characters are so great. This is one of those books that I really like, but don't expect other's to enjoy quite as much, haha.
Sunny, thanks so much for posting today! This was a fun topic to chat about. Everyone be sure to check out Sunny's blog at A Splash of Ink to read some of her other posts!! (Let her know I sent you!)
Currently Reading: The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan
Just Finished: The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
(I seem to be in a weird pattern of reading books about thieves...?)
Currently Listening to: "Need Each Other" by Jordan Taylor