Ironically enough, as I approached my late 20s I became more and more interested in the young adult fiction genre of books. Growing up, all I would read was The Babysitter’s Club and then I progressed onto Sweet Valley High. While they were fun books to read as a high schooler, they seem like nothing compared to the young adult books being written today. The Fault in Our Stars, Paper Towns, Eleanor and Park, and most recently, Fangirl are just some examples.
What I love about these books is that the main character is almost always a misfit or an outcast in their high school. Yet that doesn’t faze them one bit. They are confident and fully embrace their quirks. Some come from happy families, and some not so much. It’s quite a drastic contrast from the Wakefield twins and the world of Sweet Valley I was accustomed to as a teenager.
Fangirl, by Rainbow Rowell (now one of my favorite authors), tells the story of twin sisters who are in their first year of college. Cath writes fan fiction for a Harry Potter like saga called Simon Snow and resists change, so adjusting to college life is a struggle for her. Meanwhile her twin Wren is having the time of her life, attending parties, and meeting many new people. Sad, confused, and feeling like she doesn’t belong Cath continues to do what she loves to do: write. She doesn’t change who she is to fit in and by the end of the book she’s found like-minded people who care for her just as she is – a valuable lesson to learn no matter if you are 18 or 28.
As a 28 year old, books like Fangirl might be considered a guilty pleasure for me but I feel like that does them a disservice. These are the types of books I would encourage my nieces to read as they get older. They are genuinely well-written books, with engaging, well-liked characters, and a cozy, comfy plot. They make you feel those warm fuzzies; they make you cry and they leave you so engrossed you just might miss your bus stop (more than once).
Have you read any recent young adult books? Did you enjoy them or not?