On Saturday, I attended the Sydney Writer’s Festival for the first time ever, for a panel called “The Rise and Rise of YA: A Look at the Fastest-Growing Category in Fiction.” It was moderated by Garth Nix (I got Clariel signed!) and featured authors Laurie Halse Anderson, Margo Lanagan, and Sally Gardner. It was a very interesting experience particularly because it was also my first time going to a bookish gathering. Unless you count that one time I went to Kinokuniya to get my books signed by Scott Westerfeld. The disadvantages of living in Australia.
I used to read voraciously when I was a teen, particularly YA books, but during university, that passion was sucked dry. I read less, and the books I did read were obscure mystery/thrillers, high fantasies, and the occasional contemporary fiction. As I type this, it makes me wonder if that was my body’s strange, subconscious way of “growing up” — leaving the angst and worries and experiences of teenhood behind for more “adult” things. I have recently graduated from University (with a degree I don’t see myself pursuing (but that’s a story for another day)) and am slowly getting back to my old reading habits. The panel, and my own experience of diving back into the chaos that is YA, really made me think about why I had loved it in the first place, why I had consumed it with the ferocity of a starving dinosaur. Click through for some of the reasons why I think the genre is so popular!