In We love YA!, a fellow YA-lover is featured and is asked to answer the following questions: Why do you love YA? What are some of your favorite YA books? What can you say to encourage other people to read YA? At end of which, readers are requested to recommend books based on the featured person’s answers.
I’m so excited to present today’s We Love YA feature – Angie of Angieville. If it isn’t obvious by the number of times I’ve mentioned her here, I’m a huge fan of Angie’s blog. Once she gives a book a great review, I have this urge to grab that book as soon as I can and read it. I trust Angie’s recommendations and some of them have even ended up in my favorites list. Angie has been blogging for a couple of years and I consider her one of the greats in YA and fantasy blogging. I’m amazed that she doesn’t have more followers because I think her blog is amazing. It doesn’t hurt that we share our love for a certain incorrigible thief of Eddis. I was a lurker in Angieville long before I started my own blog and it’s with great pleasure that I welcome Angie here in my book nook. Let’s all give Angie a warm welcome! 🙂
Why do you love YA?
You know, it’s interesting. I never thought of the books I love that feature teenage or young adult protagonists as being under the “YA” label until it came into widespread use in the past several years. Because all the books I read that would technically fall under that broad term hailed from a host of different genres, including science fiction, fantasy, historical fiction, contemporary, paranormals, and mysteries. And I tended to think of them in those categories, rather than lumped all together because they happened to share somewhat younger heroes than those in other books I read. Now the term is bandied about on a near constant basis, and people talk about whether they do or do not read YA and why. I read and love young adult literature for the same reasons I read the best books of any kind — because I am drawn to strong characters and witty, sophisticated writing. I love young adult protagonists, I think, because they are so often put into natural situations that challenge them immensely, that force them to discover what they are made of, and to make decisions (often excruciatingly painful ones) about who they will be and what kind of life they are interested in leading. Those questions and conflicts never grow old for me and, honestly, I don’t think they go away either. The perspective we take on them evolves over time as our experience grows, but I find myself facing incarnations of those same issues on a daily basis as I take on new roles and come up against new responsibilities and obligations. I gravitate toward young adult literature because — like its characters — it can be anything it wants to be. It can be any color, shape, or size, and can take place in any time and on any world that the human imagination can conceive of. It is, in a word, remarkable. And that is why I love it.
What are some of your favorite books/series/authors?
I’m going to have to just break it down here a bit in order to make an even remotely fair (but nowhere near comprehensive) list:
The Chronicles of Prydain and the Westmark trilogy by Lloyd Alexander
The Dark is Rising Sequence by Susan Cooper
Graceling and Fire by Kristin Cashore
The Blue Sword and The Hero and the Crown by Robin McKinley
The Song of the Lioness quartet by Tamora Pierce
The Queen’s Thief series by Megan Whalen Turner
The Time Trilogy by Madeleine L’Engle
Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card
How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff
My Heartbeat by Garret Freymann-Weyr
An Abundance of Katherines by John Green
Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta
The Tillerman Cycle by Cynthia Voigt
Life Without Friends and The President’s Daughter series by Ellen Emerson White
Morning is a Long Time Coming by Bette Greene
A Song for Summer and A Company of Swans by Eva Ibbotson
The Outlaws of Sherwood by Robin McKinley
The Road Home by Ellen Emerson White
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
What can you say to encourage other people to read YA?
No one should ever feel or be made to feel ashamed of the books they read and love. Certainly not because of some arbitrary designation based on marketing. Life’s too short for that kind of crap. Finding books you love is all about making that connection with the character or the words on the page in such a way that it gives you the deep tingles and almost seems to freeze time itself for just a moment. Young adult literature is the perfect place to go looking for that experience because of its breadth and depth and because literally anything could be lurking under those glossy covers. Happy reading!
Wow, Angie, just wow. If I haven’t been a huge fan of your blog before, I would be after reading your answers. What you said describes perfectly how I feel about YA. It all boils down to reading good books that you can relate to, regardless of the genre. It just so happens that there are a lot of amazing books in YA and there are more being released each day. Like you, I didn’t think to categorize the books that I love as YA until I saw the label “YA” being used all over the publishing world. I guess I’ve been fortunate because my friends don’t judge the books that I read. Most of them aren’t readers so I think they’re generally amazed at how crazy I get when it comes to reading.
Now on to my recommendations. This is a bit tricky since you already mentioned a lot of my favorites. But I do know that you haven’t given Elizabeth E. Wein’s books a try and I have a feeling you’ll like them because I got the recommendation from Sounis. The series starts with The Winter Prince, which is woefully out of print, followed by A Coalition of Lions. But you could read the series out of order and just start with the ones about Telemakos – The Sunbird, The Lion Hunter and The Empty Kingdom. These were the ones that I read first. I would also love to see your thoughts on the Sasharia En Garde duology by Sherwood Smith – Once a Princess, Twice a Prince. Also because you love the Mercy Thompson series by Patricia Briggs, I was wondering if you’d like to give her epic fantasy books a try. Maybe start with the Hurog duology: Dragon Bones and Dragon Blood, which I loved. Last but not the least, I hope you get to read Saving Francesca by Melina Marchetta because you loved Jellicoe Road.
Whew, so it turns out I still have a couple of recommendations up my sleeve. I’m off to add the books that Angie mentioned to my wishlist. How about you, dear readers, any suggestions for Angie? 🙂