I recently finished reading Rainbow Rowell’s newest book, Fangirl, and I think it’s fitting that my first post is about one of my deepest reading loves: teen fiction. Since hitting the quarter-of-century age landmark, I’ve decided that I no longer need to hide my affection for this genre or refer to it as my “guilty pleasure.” I’m not guilty about it. I’m downright unabashedly talking about my recent reads in the bar on Saturday night. That’s right Seattle, I just finished reading a vampire novel, and it was awesome (disclaimer: I’m not usually a vampire novel fan, and while I was temporarily on the Twilight bandwagon when I was 16—and it was still a standalone novel—I have since tucked-and-rolled my way off this wagon. The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova is an exception I will happily delve into another time). The aforementioned awesome vampire novel from the bar was The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black. This book is exquisitely written and the first book I have read in quite some time that seized my attention within the first few pages and wouldn’t let go until well after I was done reading it. I recently had the pleasure of meeting Ms. Black, and her blue hair, endearing laugh, and quick wit only gave me more reason to get behind this book. (She also talked about hanging out in France while she was writing. Holly Black, can I be you?)
My love for YA goes back to my days growing up in suburbia, sipping on coffee-free Starbucks Frappuccinos, casually perusing the teen shelves at Barnes & Noble. Then that awful day arrived when I started to get this nagging feeling that I was “too old” for the teen section. I dreaded the daunting shelves that “mature” readers should be browsing, and I found myself clinging to the employee-prepared display tables for my next reads. I didn’t want to face the shelves that I was convinced spanned beyond the bounds of the store.
Eventually I grew bolder, fell in love with the incredible selection and diversity outside of the YA world, and even started drinking coffee. But then I got a job in the book world and realized I can have it all. I can continue to read the new and classic literary titles, but also drop my nostalgia for teen fiction and read it again in earnest. Not in secret, not accompanied by a blush. So for all of you YA-loving grown-ups out there (and I know now that there are a lot of you), this post is for you. And you can look forward to more YA-focused reviews and posts in the future.
And here’s to Rainbow Rowell and her new novel Fangirl, a fabulously written and wholly captivating novel about new experiences, self-discovery, and the power of writing. This novel inspired me to drop all of my super-lame excuses and start doing what I love doing, what I have neglected to do for so long: begin writing.