As a reader of the YA novel, you have more than likely experienced censure on the part of literary snobs who read only “serious” novels.
It is impossible for these anti-YA-ers to understand why a reader would like experiencing the fun, suspense and wonder of a heroine who finds out she is more than she thought, and capable of more than she’d ever dreamed.
However, just because YA literature is sometimes looked down upon by readers of the “Great American Novel” or the like, that doesn’t mean YA novelists aren’t contributing significantly to today’s society.
I was pleasantly shocked by the YA community on twitter, for example, which brings together authors and readers who are encouraging, reading and promoting one another, to the equal benefit of both.
Similarly, in a world of oil spills, earthquakes, anti-gay marriage, 9 to 5 and Sarah Palin, we all need some plain ‘ole fun in our lives. YA Novels are nothing, if not fun, exciting and exhilarating.
Furthermore, I find the situation of YA authors and readers to be the same as that of readers and authors of novels in the 1800s. Jane Austen herself defended the novel before it was ultimately accepted by the literary upper crust. One hundred years in the future, colleges could be teaching about the YA movement of the early 21st Century.
So don’t you dare be ashamed to crack open that YA book.
To that end, please enjoy, savor and cheer at the following Austen quotations in defense of the novel in “Northanger Abbey.”
“Alas! If the heroine of one novel be not patronized by the heroine of another, from whom can she expect protection and regard? I cannot approve of it. Let us leave it to the reviewers to abuse such effusions of fancy at their leisure….Let us not desert one another; we are an injured body.”
“Although our productions have afforded more extensive and unaffected pleasure than those of any other literary corporation in the word, no species of composition has been so decried.”
“And what are you reading, Miss — ?’ ‘Oh! It is only a novel!’ replies the young lady, while she lays down her book with affected indifference, or momentary shame. ‘It is only Cecilia, or Camilla, or Belinda’; or, in short, only some work in which the greatest powers of the mind are displayed, in which the most thorough knowledge of human nature, the happiest delineation of its varieties, the liveliest effusions of wit and humour, are conveyed to the world in the best–chosen language.”