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!