You may notice, from my “What I’m Currently Reading” tab to the right (Oh... you don’t notice it? Allow me to direct you to it. It’s to your right) that I read a lot of Young Adult Novels. I even took a class in “How to Teach Young Adult Novels.” I was doing it way back before it was cool to read it, make a movie out of it, then have everyone choose a “team” for the movie despite the fact that the book series wrapped up years ago and we all know which couples end up together. (Although deep in my heart, I was hoping that Bella would end up with that one minor character from the first book of the Twilight series. If I’m going to make a joke about it, I probably should read it closer. No, no.. I’m standing by that joke.)
I’m also very aware of the fact that I’m a 34 year old man. A 34 year old man that still wears shirts with his favorite cartoon characters on it and has a Green Lantern Ring for every day of the week, but I give the outward appearance of a responsible adult to those who may not know me that well. I kind of hope that the rather mean lady I met on the metro the other day had known me better to know that while I do a great impression of a responsible adult, I’m a giant kid at heart when she confronted me about reading a young adult novel.
You may have noticed that Reached by Ally Condie was in my “What I’m Currently Reading” tab (located to the right of this article) for quite some time. (I was savoring it.) But unlike a lot of the other books I read, I wasn’t reading it on my Kindle or tablet-like device, I was reading the actual paper book. You know, like they make from trees and the souls of the writer. This wasn’t to make a bold statement, I had mentioned I had enjoyed the first book on my kindle, and my wife being nice surprised me with the book versions of the other two. But rather than reading a faceless black tab of plastic, I was reading a colorful book that showed a young lady in red, standing through a broken glass bubble, symbolizing the final part of the book and the fact that our young hero, Cassia, was able to walk through the final pill: the dreaded red one that takes away memories.
So, it was obvious I was reading a young adult novel when this rather unpleasant lady broke Metro Rule # 1 and actually talked to a stranger during rush hour.
“What book is that?” she asked, looking up from her phone ever so briefly.
“It’s Reached,” I said. I was taken back by the fact that someone was talking to me, so I didn’t point out the large word, “REACHED” written on the front cover along with the young lady in red, standing through a broken glass bubble, symbolizing yadda yadda yadda...
“What’s it about?”
“It’s about a young girl...” and I launched into a rousing description of a dystopian society and a young girl who broke all the societal norms for love, friendship, and freedom.
“So it’s a kids book?” she asked, eyebrows raised.
At this point, I knew where the conversation was going. I was torn by saying a simple, “yes” or something more obnoxious by pointing out that I was reading while she was crushing colorful objects on the game on her phone. I split the difference and commented that it was a young adult novel, and I really didn’t have to defend any of my life choices to her as we’ve known each other for a good four minutes at this point.
“Why don’t you read a real book?”
“This is a real book.”
“It’s for kids! Grow up!” with that the metro lurched to a stop, moved forward a little bit more for some reason, then lurched to a stop again and she was away, no doubt to hop on her broom and interject her special brand of wisdom on someone else minding their own business.
Let me say that Bad Shakespeare does not endorse the persecution of witches, and I sincerely hope that that lady avoids all forms of liquids, as I’m certain that would be fatal to her. I saw it in a movie once, so I’m assuming it’s true.
This post is not to defend any of my life choices, particularly with reading. What candy jewel crushing mean lady was not doing was not reading, which at that point leads me to wonder what type of book she likes to read, if any? (Except Witches’ Quarterly, particularly that one article that tells you to stop one random stranger on a train and tell them that they’re doing everything wrong.) I enjoy Young Adult Novels. I enjoy Science Fiction (or speculative fiction, nerds) Novels. I enjoy Fantasy, Historical, Graphic, Realistic Novels. I like to read. Young Adult is just another form of that.
There’s also the fact that lately Young Adult Novels have been a lot more imaginative than some of the other novels I’ve read lately. I really enjoyed the Matched Series, as I pointed out, and yes, I hopped right on that Hunger Games trilogy bandwagon right when it got cool. Hero was one of my particular favorites, and dealt with the idea of coming out to your father (while saving the world) in a mature, intelligent, fashion. Divergent, Mrs. Pettigrew’s Home for Peculiar Children, and Mortal Instruments are both on my radar once I finish whatever book is in my “What I’m Currently Reading” tab. (located to your right.) So is Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norell, but that’s not Young Adult so it’s not proving my point.
I think the point I’m trying to really get across is that one of the things I enjoy doing with my life is reading. I love it. I love reading books. Except The Twelve. That one just made me sad. But for the most part, I love books. And it’s like anything, I look for interesting things that inspire me. And interesting things that inspire me really don’t have an age limit. You just enjoy them. And that’s what you should do.
Now if you’ll excuse me, it’s time to put down my book and catch the latest episode of Phineas and Ferb.