Why I Love YA

by Karen Akins

Seriously. I feel like I'm about to start a high school essay, but isn't that kind of apropos?

For me, the love of YA is actually more of a newfound thing. I didn't read YA back in my teen years (not that there was as much to choose from). Back in the 90's, this was my idea of YA:
And there is NOTHING wrong with Sweet Valley High. Or any contemporary long-running series. Don't get me wrong. I just discovered Jane Austen and Agatha Christie and the Brontes in ninth grade, and they kind of got a hammerhold on my heart. (Still have one.)

It wasn't until I was 9 months pregnant with the Pea that I rediscovered YA. IN THE MOST TRAUMATIC WAY POSSIBLE. One of my friends suggested I read the Twilight series (the fourth book was about to come out). I trusted her taste, so I said, "Sure, why not?"

And, yes, I got sucked into the story. Into the characters. It was fun, putting myself in Bella's shoes and reliving those raw teenage emotions again.

And then out comes Book 4.

Did I mention I was 9 months pregnant with my first child?

My first child that I was about to GIVE BIRTH TO.

I pretty much called my friend the second I was done reading the hybrid-vampire-baby-worst-c-section-ever scene and screamed, "What the WHAT??"

And she reassured me that despite the fact that he was indeed draining every drop of energy out of me like a hybrid-vampire-baby, the Pea was not actually a hybrid-vampire-baby. (He was, however, 10 freaking pounds at birth.)

And then the Pea arrived and he didn't sleep a lot. Which meant I didn't sleep a lot. And he was ten pounds, which meant he wanted to eat ALL THE TIME.

So I picked up another YA book while I was feeding him.

And I loved that one. And another. And another.

I loved the pace. I loved the energy and the undercurrent of hope.

Then I said, "Hey, I've always had story ideas swirling around in my head...what if I actually tried to write a book?"

So I did.

And, that, dear friends, is why I love YA.

Also, I love Beth Revis. And I love Beth Revis's books.

And I LOVE her giveaways.


  1. A ten pound baby came out of your tiny body?!?!?! Oh Karen... you poor thing! And I thought my 8 1/2 was bad... unreal! Though the Twilight parallels with you preg is REALLY funny... er... I would definitely not want to read that book right before labor!

    I <3 YA too.

  2. I'm sorry you never found the wonderfulness of Paul Zindel, Ellen Conford or Judy Blume back in the day (which were around in the 80s and before). SVH never appealed to me. Generally "sweet" is not what I look for in books. LOL. Give me quirky or deep, but no sugar, thanks. :-D

  3. Oh my wow, Book 4 was traumatic for me even without being pregnant. I can't even imagine. I kept wondering how they were going to turn it into a movie without it being X-rated, haha.

    1. Ha! Yes, I had, like, flashbacks even though my kiddo is 4 now. :)

  4. I never read YA when I was a ya either but love them now and for me it also started with twilight (well there was harry potter first but i consider that children's). I think I'd take that type of c-section over the real kind any day (not speaking from experience)

  5. You crack me up, Karen. Yeah, Breaking Dawn's probably not the best book to read when *very* pregnant!

    I read YA like crazy when I was growing up. I remember so sad when I realized I'd already read every single book in that section of the bookstore that I wanted to read. It's nice how much that section's grown over the years!

    1. Oh, I know! I love that there are now enough rows to separate out sub-genres of YA. And it doesn't look like the growth will slow anytime soon. :)

  6. You are so funny, but I'm sorry that the Pea was 10 pounds. My first was 9 pounds, and she just about killed me.

    Like you, I read the classics and adult fiction when I was a teen, but I discovered YA as an adult. Love it! :o)

  7. Oh my goodness, I can't imagine reading book 4 pregnant. Haha. (10 lbs...yikes. I had 3 9lb'ers. That deserves some sympathy, yes? lol)