Tuesday, January 17, 2012

I HEART YA #1: Memory Lane When Periods Are More Than Punctuation

Welcome to the I HEART YA Blog Carnival, which starts today! Hooray! I HEART YA is a Blog Carnival for readers, writers, and lovers of young adult fiction. Every Tuesday there will be a blogging prompt that celebrates my favorite reading genre --YA fiction. Bloggers are invited to write their own take on the topic and post a link in the comment section, or if you prefer just put your thoughts in the comments.Either way, if you own a blog, grab the button to show your pride, and add your link to the list below. If you're not sure what to do, go to the I HEART YA tab for more details.

For the first post, I thought I'd take a quick walk down YA fiction memory lane. According to Wikipedia, YA fiction started in the '70s, picked up steam in the '80s, and became a full-blown genre in the 90's. Okay, that's not exactly how they say it, but I'm giving the Cliff notes version. And it just so happens that I was a young person in the seventies. Yeah, I know, I'm a dinosaur. In fact, I happen to remember the release of one of the originals. Yes, I'm talking about "Are You There God? It's me, Margaret." 

Apparently it is a story of a young girl coming to terms with her religion. But I don't remember any of that. There were two things that made the book popular among my crowd. The use of the words (please turn away if you tend to be sensitive) ahem *bra* and *period*. And not the punctuation persuasion. 

That Judy Blume dared put those topics into print caused the book to go viral in our version of social media (otherwise known as recess). The book was only spoken of in whispers. We begged and borrowed from one another and the school library. When some of us got tired of waiting we'd save our lunch money and sneak away to the town book store to get our own copy. The book was always wrapped in brown paper, so no one would know what we were reading. We'd slip into the house with it tucked under our shirt (backpacks were considered lame) and dash to our rooms where we'd read under the covers. 

And that is my first memory of a book that pulled me in and wouldn't let go. One that you'd read from cover to cover without coming up for air. Then do it again.

I did plenty of reading in those days: Little House on the Prairie, Hardy Boys, Nancy Drew. (Just writing that list makes me feel ancient!) I was about 13 when I read all 899 pages of Alex Haley's Roots. Reading was just something I did. But it wasn't a social activity. There certainly wasn't anything the equivalent of Margaret.  

When I got out of high school I left the young adult genre entirely (not that I knew that's what I was doing, since I didn't even know there was a young adult genre). It wasn't until I had children in junior high that I started paying attention to books geared towards young adults. I started reading my oldest's school reading assignments, and found them intriguing enough. But when I think back to my first experience with YA fiction (besides Margaret and Little House on the Prairie), this is the book that comes to mind:

I ordered it online, thinking it was something my daughter would enjoy. And when it arrived in the mail, BAM I was a little girl hiding away in my room and ignoring all requests for food and bedtimes and trivial things like that.

And that's when I discovered that there was a whole world of YA fiction out there begging to be devoured.

So what about you? What was your first? Not the first you read, but the first that comes to mind when you think of YA fiction. The one that held on tight and wouldn't let go until you got to the final chapter and closed the book with a sigh--hungry and tired and wishing it hadn't ended.

So now it's time to party! Add your blog to the link, grab your badge, put your thoughts in the comments section, and be sure to link to your own blog so we can get to know one another!


  1. I still haven't read The Uglies, I really should :) Um... I have to think about Harry Potter. It's really YA, but it was the series of books that got me reading. And BTW, you are not a dinosaur!

  2. Hmm...Blogger's new threaded commenting doesn't seem to be working. Dang, I was so excited to try it. Or maybe I'm just too much of a digital dork to figure it out.

    Anyway @J.A. Thanks for jumping in! I'm sure Harry Potter is responsible for many late night flashlight reads and new fans of reading in general. Books keep improving, so I'm not sure how I'd feel about Uglies today, but they were a great read at the time. Check back in if you do read one. And thanks - I don't FEEL like a dinosaur!

    Also, the first person to add their web link to the linky and grab the badge gets a free digital ARC of ExtraNormal! The honor is still open! (The second, third, and fourth, etc. get my undying fandom and hopefully lots of new followers!)

  3. Yeah Mine was Twilight... It got me reading again and when I picked it up I could NOT put it down till the last page!

  4. I already have an ARC, so I can't win. :) But I loved the question.

  5. Wow, if you were blown away with references to periods and bras then Haley's book must have shocked the heck out of you.

    For me it was "Charlotte's Web". My fourth grade teacher wrote in my autograph book (my dad was career Navy and we were getting ready to move to the Philippines, so my best friend got me a book and had everyone sign it at school) that she'd never forget how many times I read that book.

    I was in college when Roots came out. *sigh* Dinosaur, huh?

  6. Yay! SupaGurlbooks gets the ARC! Thanks so much. And btw folks she's celebrating her one-year anniversary on a very awesome blog today, so make sure you head over there! http://supagurlbooks.blogspot.com

    @Sarah - thanks for jumping in! I can always count on you!

    @Donna - I wouldn't say I was blown away with Roots as much as I was clueless through half of it. (What did that big man do to that lady?) Good times. Yeah, Charlotte's Web, I still have that one on my bookshelf. =)

  7. Love the uglies series. I reread it every couple of years. There are so many awesome books that come to mind, it is hard to choose just one.

  8. I've never read the Uglies series! I think my first YA books that come to mind are The Babysitter's Club series, but maybe those are MG? I don't remember!!!! This is a fun carvinal, I'm in!!

    1. Thanks for joining! And heck ya it's gonna be fun! I think you're right that babysitter's club is mg, but I'm not sure when they started distinguishing the two. Margaret probably would be now. Look forward to getting to know you better!

  9. Mine was "Both Sides of Time" by Caroline B. Cooney. It was the first book I read where the main character talked and thought like I did, and it had a sweet, simple romance. I still love that book and its sequels. So very much.

    I do remember reading "Are You There God..." myself! I found it very exciting to be reading about what were, at that time in my life, taboo topics. I was such a rebel. lol.

  10. I don't think I've read Are you there God. But NANCY DREW baby! I don't care if that makes me a dinosaur. I love her and the Hardy Boys more than you can know. Sigh.

    The books that brought me back around to YA was the Twilight series. ;0) After that I just devoured so many things I can't even remember all of them. I have read the Uglies books. The first one was my favorite.

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  11. Comment fail. *reposts* For some reason the comment box didn't even show up for me til now. Oh well.

    Uglies was a pretty fun series to read. I'm actually not through with it, because it's a pretty popular series at my local library and I am on a waiting list. *sighs* Same thing with the Hunger Games series.

    Books that make me think YA include anything by Holly Black and Melissa Marr. Though my favorite have to be the later Harry Potter books, since I think the first few were considered MG.

    I love the sound of this bloghop! I might have to put my Inspired Tuesdays posts on hold for awhile and participate!


  12. Acch! I've been trying to get that little reply button to work, but it only seems to work on my phone. And @Donelle - thanks for sticking it out with my comment issues. Hope I can get to the bottom of it! Thanks for participating. I'm familiar with Holly Black but I'll have to look up Melissa Marr!

    @Jenny - there is something special about Nancy and the Hardy Boys. I think I became an especially big fan of the Boys when they came out with that series with Parker Stevenson. Oh the hair! Hunka hunka! =)

    @PidginPie - thanks for joining you rebel you!

    I think I've visited all your blogs, if not let me know. And be sure to put the link in your comments so we can find you easily! Thanks all, this has been a great first round!

  13. Woo hoo! A Blog Carnival! This is fun--and maybe it will keep us distracted until your book finally comes out!

    It's hard for even me to believe, but I didn't read anything that wasn't assigned until I had 5 young children! And then when my tween daughter said she didn't like to read because there aren't any good books, I started reading YA so I could find some for her. It worked. Now I have to restrict her reading sometimes so she'll come up for air once in a while!

    P.S. A Kindle is hard to share. Dear Santa...

    1. Thanks for stopping by Keems! And confessing your lack of childhood readerdom. That is amazing. But I love you anyway. (She's related folks, don't worry I won't get mushy on the rest of you.) Glad to have you as part of the carnival, cause seriously a party ain't a party without Keems!

  14. I wasn't much of a YA fiction reader until I read Twilight. I saw the movie first and didn't understand a thing that was going on--so I read, and read, and read until I finished the four. Now I just can't stop. YA is my favorite genre now. Recent loves: Divergent, Shattered Souls, The Pledge, Become.

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