As you might know, I am currently studying English Language and Literature at University. I am loving this course, but one thing I have found difficult is balancing all of the reading I have to do with reading for pleasure. While trying to balance critically reading at least one book a week (as well as other textbook chapters, articles, journals .etc.), it can be really hard to motivate myself to read for pleasure in my spare time. But, when I go through a period of not reading for pleasure (take right now for example, my reading slump is still going strong!) I really miss it. So how to deal with this predicament?
Well, this is where YA comes in. But first, some context:
I started reading YA around 2005/06 when Twilight was big. I then spent years reading the genre which at that point was obsessed with everything and anything supernatural, paranormally, basically riding the Twilight wave. Pretty predictably there came a time where I couldn’t take it anymore and I stopped reading YA completely. I had basically YA’d myself out!
My break up with YA lasted a couple of years until I started my first year at University and the aforementioned academic reading piles hit me like a ton of bricks. I experienced what I like to call the great reading slump of 2015 (I say like when in truth I did not like anything about this reading slump, it was awful!). I could not physically make myself pick up a book for pleasure and it made me really sad! Then one day I had the ingenious idea of picking up The Fault in Our Stars by John Green, which was and still is one of my favourite books. Not to stray into cliché but rereading this book pretty much made me feel in love with reading for pleasure, and reading YA again.
Since then, the majority of the books I read (at least during term time) are YA. I think there are a couple of reasons for this:
- It’s nice to read something completely different from my course readings. When I’m reading a book a week for Uni it’s usually either classics or non-contemporary books and, of course, the more academic texts like textbooks and articles and studies and that. I think YA is fantastic because it is something completely different.
- I can relate to a lot of the characters and protagonists in YA fiction. Take, as a wonderful example, Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell. This novel literally follows the main character, Kath, as she struggles with her first year at college. When I’m struggling either at University or in my personal life, it’s nice to read books about characters who are going through similar things.
- I just love the writing and the characters in YA novels. Talking mainly about contemporary here (because this is my main genre) I just find something familiar and comforting in opening the pages of a new YA.
(me jumping back into reading YA)
Book blogging has also helped with my return into YA by introducing me to new and different books I might never have picked up alone, plus steering me away from books I might not like.
Take, for example , Six of Crows. I would never have picked up this novel if not for book blogging but it is now one of my favourite books ever. It’s also inspired me to be more open to reading fantasy which is great because it means I am less likely to out-YA contemporary myself (just like I did with YA in general all those years ago!).
In terms of keeping clear of books I might not like, I am talking specifically about love triangles. It might sound a little straight laced but any books with love triangles (no matter how ‘well executed’) are a no-go for me. Having reviews that warn me if a specific book has a love triangle is really great for me because it means I don’t accidentally pick one up and then read it annoyed and frustrated the whole way through!
So there we have it, why and how I kissed and made up with YA. If you think about it, it’s kind of an origin story for this blog too which is pretty cool! What are your reasons for reading YA (or any other genres)? How do you balance life and reading?
As always, happy reading!