Why Write YA? Why Not Write “Real Books”?
January 31, 2011

There’s a great post over at YA Highway written by Kristin Miller, YA Inferior?, that really got me thinking:

A recent Publisher’s Weekly article discusses some of the big children’s titles that were being buzzed about at Mid-June’s Winter Institute. We were excited to see YA Highway friend Vernoica Roth noted for DIVERGENT, the first book in her new series. Yay Veronica!

Later in the article, however, we were disappointed with a comment made by a New England bookseller and co-chair of the New England Children’s Booksellers’ Association. From the article:

“The other, Judy Blundell’s Strings Attached (Scholastic), is so well-written, says Hermans, that it could be shelved with adult titles.”

Which leads to my question for today: why write YA? Why not write “real books”?

All I know is, YA and children’s books shaped me as a reader, a writer, a thinker, a human being.

That’s why *I* write YA. I want to serve — to help shape, enlighten, champion, comfort, applaud, reassure young people as they grow into adults in this often unfair, cruel, confusing and dark world.

I don’t care what anyone else thinks. I see YA as a noble pursuit that remains a noble pursuit regardless of others’ misinterpretations or misguided attempts (intended or otherwise) to portray it as less than it is: a valid, vital form of literature.

When I think of the books I love most in the world, that unleash(ed) that reading journey of magic and wonder, self-discovery and growth, it’s the titles of my childhood and young adult years that always come to mind, continuing to warm my heart and make me smile.

I can’t think of a more worthwhile pursuit than helping those tender, growing shoots of humanity find their way in this world, hearts touched and minds understood and, with a book in their hands, never EVER alone.

I believe there’s so much magic to be found in YA because those years *are* the magic years: the years of stunning, shiny firsts.

Writing YA, good YA, takes three things: heart, honesty, and a willingness not to look the other way.

What about you? Why do YOU write YA?