Why write YA?
Being the sort of person who ruminates on big, complicated questions (or drafts emails or has rousing fake arguments) when I can’t sleep at night, I’ve thought about this question a lot. So, why do I write YA?
Well, first, because I like to read it!
Simple. I adore YA. I love its incredible variety. I love its heart and depth and sense of immediacy. I love its grandness, its size. I love its unabashed emotional intensity. And, more than anything, I love its sense of possibility. YA brims with potential, with promise because…
Teens! YA is for teens! Which is the second, though most important, reason I write it.
YA is for readers at the beginning, at a series of beginnings, the breadth of which is both invigorating and…daunting. And Young Adult literature attempts and (hopefully) succeeds at capturing that complex mix of hope and trepidation, of possibility and the constraints of circumstance, of growth and growing pains, without cynicism, without jadedness or ennui. YA is about some the most important transitional moments in a person’s life, moments and experiences and emotions that have a sense of universality (Hello “Young at Heart”, you usurper, which I have Feelings about but will not go into here.) while the packaging and context shifts as times change and perspectives expand.
YA is imperfect. (Everything is. There is still a lot of work to be done.) But it also pushes boundaries and looks forward because it is literally for the future, for and about the readers who will help shape it.
Teens, YA is for you. I write for you. For me when I was you. For the future you hope to live in and the person you hope to become.