Saturday, August 15, 2009
Analysing my YA reads
For the last month, Ana and Thea from The Book Smugglers have been hosting Young Adult Appreciation Month. Over the last few weeks, the Smugglers have been hosting many different authors, guest bloggers, book reviews and giveaways all designed to show the love to YA readers, bloggers and authors. To quote from the girls "we will be discussing the merits of the genre, the apparent boom of YA literature, and the crossover appeal of YA novels."
I first started keeping a fairly accurate track of my reads just over four years ago, and a quick look at my stats reveals a quite varied level of reading during that time as per below:
2005 - 6 YA novels read
2006 - 4 YA novels read
2007 - 8 YA novels read
2008 - 7 YA novels read
2009 - 12 (so far) YA novels read
I expect the number for 2009 to end up being much higher as just recently I have started reading four YA series - the Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare, the Attolia series by Megan Whalen Turner, the House of Night series by PC Cast and Kristin Cast and most recently The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins - and I definitely intend to keep reading all of those series as soon as I can.
Over the last few years some of the books I have read include the Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants series by Ann Brashares, the first two books in the His Dark Materials trilogy (one day I will read the third one), the Twilight books (of course), as well as the Keys to the Kingdom series by Garth Nix.
Whilst I read across a few different genres most of the time, my main genres are really historical fiction and romance, with some fantasy and mystery thrown in there. One thing I find interesting is that almost all the YA books that I have read are fantasy. I get that there isn't much straight YA romance novels, and to be honest I am not sure I would want to read them even if there were, but it does surprise me a little to see how little historical fiction YA I have read. As for mystery, are there even YA mysteries around?
So why do I seem to enjoy reading YA fantasy in particular so much? Don't get me wrong, I enjoy well written adult fantasy (you know what I mean), but I must confess that my preferred fantasy settings are ones that aren't too far from the world we live in so while I need some world building, I don't need huge amounts. I am far more interested in the relationships between the characters and I think that is something that a lot of YA books do really well. The friendships between the characters, the discovery of the new emotions associated with young love and trying to discern a way through those emotions in an adult world are all
If my lack of historical fiction YA is one area that I am lacking in, then the other is really Australian authors. Over the last four years I have read seven YA books by Australian authors. That doesn't sound that bad, until you realise that six of those seven books were actually written by one author, and are all part of one series (Keys to the Kingdom series by Garth Nix).
One example that I do have of a book by an Australian author, with a historical setting is The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. Despite the fact that I really enjoyed this book when I read it, I still haven't managed to read more from this local author. I really should rectify that! In the meantime, in honour of YA Appreciation month, I will repost my review of The Book Thief in the next few hours.
So, I am looking for recommendations for two different types of YA books, the first being YA historical fiction and the second being YA written by Australian authors. Are there any absolutely must read YA novels out there that I haven't mentioned?
I look forward to hearing everybody's recommendations!