Thursday, December 2, 2010

Not Such a Bright YA, Were Ya?

I've seen these posts strewn about the blogosphere here and there for awhile, with bloggers stating the reasons that they prefer to read YA even though we're not teenagers anymore. I've always nodded thoughtfully along with these posts and gone through my reasons within my brain. Never given it much more thought than that. But Anna at Anna Reads has posted THIS today and explained how she was a fabulous student, super focused on "ruling the world," and her school-related goals. A couple of my other blogger friends weighed in with comments and I realized that I'm totally the odd one out.

Usually, you assume bookish folk to be good people. Intelligent, reasonably level-headed, knowledgable. At least those are the adjectives that flash through my mind when I think of my fellow bookworms. I was not like this at all in high school.

My outlook on school was lax. In elementary school, everything came naturally. It was ELEMENTARY school, after all. Once I got into middle school, the Cs made their debut thanks to Algebra. The Cs stayed constant in my math classes throughout high school. I even got a D once. I didn't have concrete long-term goals. The obligatory aspirations of "I want to be a veterinarian" or "meteorologist" came up in conversation, but I never believed I'd do that.

I never studied. I copied my homework from the smart kids a few minutes prior to class in order to get credit. I never showed my work. Heck, I never had work to show! I believe I had a grand total of 20 something tardies for my senior year and ditched all the time. I graduated with a 3.1 GPA and I was totally fine with it. I stayed out late. I wore WAY too much make up. I hated my parents at the time for "ruining my fun." I never listened and I had a horrible potty mouth. I cheated on tests.

Extra curriculars? Heck naw. I was in show choir because I loved to sing, but that's it. Another factor was that I was in a pretty unhealthy relationship. I somehow got brainwashed that it was normal to be in a relationship where the guy determines who you can/cannot hang out with or talk to and what you're allowed to do. I had some good friends, but pushed them away because the guy didn't like them. Thankfully, I got out of that mess. My husband is freaking awesome and I've seen how BADAZZ real love can, and is supposed to, be.

I read YA because I didn't have a packed social life with BFFs & awesome parties. I seldom went to sleepovers and gossiped about clothes or weekend plans or cute boys. I get happy when I read that girls dump their overbearing boyfriends and choose the best friend over the jerkface loser. I smile when I read about protags who are freaking out about their grades or their college acceptance letters. And, OH! How I love reading about those picture perfect romances. But I get sad/pissed off when I think about how I didn't read YA at all during high school. I think I could've learned a lot from some of the strong, fierce ladies that lead my favorite books.

This isn't supposed to be a "feel sorry for me" post, because I don't feel sorry for me. I'm a good student now and I never miss class, but I had to learn from my own mistakes. Just giving an honest point of view from somewhere closer to the other end of the spectrum. But I have absolutely no problem catching up on some of life's lessons at 25, when I can look back and shake my head at my younger self. Better late than never, yes?

So, fellow adult book nerds, why do you read YA? I'd especially love to hear from those who suffered from scholastic nonchalance, like myself!


  1. I love this post! Listen, I would have been you friend in high school because you would have made me laugh like a maniac, and in return I would have let you copy my math homework.

    Seems to me, after all this discussion, that a lot of us read YA to make up for our own teen experiences, at both ends of the spectrum. Which is just fascinating, no? Well, you can live a hundred lives through books, so there's no shortage of living vicariously now!

    I wish I read YA as a teen too. I would have learned SO much. But, nope, was reading SERIOUS adult books from fifth grade on. Loser. I'm making up for it now!

  2. I think I painted the wrong picture of myself in my post about this same subject. I was never the study hard book worm in high school. In fact, I HATED to read. I never did it. Cliff notes was my best friend :-) I too, wish I had taken a liking to YA in high school though. It would have shed A LOT of light on so many things. But I'm like you - I had to learn these lessons later in life. Being almost 30 and not married (or even in a serious relationship with anyone) I feel like it's a reflection on who I was when I was younger. I don't know why? Everyone tells me the "right guy" is out there - and that I'll find him one day! For now though, I'll just pretend I'm 16 again & find him in my books :-)

    Thank you for sharing something personal about yourself - it's what makes this book blogging community so awesome.

  3. I love to read, pretty much anything. YA books always seem more vibrant...more about plot and character and voice, not the pretty pretty prose.

    BTW I love the look of your blog. Did you do the design?

  4. Anna, I was big on the serious adult books, too. I always liked to read, but I rushed out of the children's section and into the adult section as fast as I could. I don't think I read almost any YA until recently. Now I don't feel like I'll ever catch up! Plus, I didn't do nearly as much fiction reading in hs and college as I would have liked because I was too busy with school work. I wish I would have been a slacker and read the good stuff ;-)

    Ginger, as another single person, I'm pretty convinced that the guys in books are better than the real ones anyway. When the drama gets to be too much, at least you can just shut the book and walk away.

  5. Me and my horrible memory...I can't remember who you even dated in high school...haha. And I didn't have that many great relationships with girls either, I was all about boys. And none of them were that great anyway, haha.

  6. I have no idea what sort of GPA I had in high school; I think I graduated with a 3.6-3.8 or something, which is NOTHING compared to a lot of people but I worked hard for those grades. Up through 9th grade I LOVED school and worked hard at it. It was after that (and especially now, in college) that things started to fall apart grades-wise. But I also never had the great friends/parties/etc etc etc., although I don't think that's why I read YA now because really I've always liked to read about characters whose lives are kind of like my own.

    I think I read YA as an adult just because I love it. Because I don't think I'll ever feel completely grown up, because there's so much POSSIBILITY in that time of life and so many amazing things can happen... so many paths you can choose that start to close really quickly as an adult. (Or, well, honestly they don't close, but it becomes harder to choose another path.)

  7. I read YA because it lets my inner child live on through the characters without ever stepping out of my good-girl shell ;)

    That's my very simple answer haha

  8. haha im the wrong person to ask then! im the scholastic nerd, tbh..
    but i still read YA for escapism and because i like the characters and the decision they're faced with (no, not decisions like jacob or edward) but real decisions at times in their lives where everything and nothing matters. ya know? plus, im a YA myself, so i like it.