Reading with Open Eyes

As part of TLT’s Why YA series, author John Corey Whaley talks about why what YA fiction means to him. One of my favorite parts:

“But one thing we all have is the memory of being a teenager.  We remember how it felt, how awesome it was sometimes and how much it sucked other times.  We remember discovering things for ourselves and making mistakes we knew better than to make in the first place.  We all share so few things, but being a teenager and knowing what it means to be one is a damn important one…They’re just waiting to grow up and become more bruised and cynical by the ways of the world.  I write YA because teenagers read with open eyes and, you know what? Maybe more adults should do the same.”

High five, John Corey Whaley. I’m sure I’ve said this before, but I think YA could easily be classified as coming-of-age novels. So many great works of literature–To Kill a Mockingbird, Catcher in the Rye, A Separate Piece, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, etc.–are about first encounters with the larger, complicated world and having to come to terms with oneself. As a teen, so much is new and imbued with importance. Why wouldn’t someone one to write about those experiences?

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