I’ve always been a big reader. Back when I was a teen, it was hard to come across books that were specifically meant for teens. I didn’t have the luxury of Google or Goodreads, and the teen section in bookstores was mostly nonexistent. My first foray into YA was Sarah Dessen. Her first book, That Summer, came out in 1996, when I was 14, and I was instantly hooked on YA. Especially contemporary. When I read The Perks of Being a Wallflower as an angsty 16-year-old, it was like finding a book that someone wrote just for me. Something about Charlie’s story spoke to me. I’m not usually someone that who writes in books, but my original copy is full of notes and highlighted lines that I couldn’t resist marking for later enjoyment.
Years later, I’m twenty-nine and my love for YA, especially contemporary, has probably never been stronger. When I’m in a bookstore and I see a teenager (or a parent of one) struggling to pick out a book, I can’t help but start recommending a few of my favorites in their chosen genre. I’m convinced that (almost) every person who normally doesn’t read books is only one fantastic novel away from realizing how great reading can be. I love real stories set in our world with honest moments. I prefer teen books because I have an undying love of the “coming of age” story. I don’t want to read about sad, middle aged people getting divorced or having an affair, but I can follow the story of a teenager’s struggle to fit in at a new school or love triangle problem any day. Contemporary YA is often quiet and thoughtful and leaves a lingering impact on me in a way no other stories ever have.
This post was originally guest posted on Candace's Book Blog as a part of last November's Just Contemporary month.