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Somewhere along the way in my YA fiction craze, I've gotten too used to "the good stuff." I've read too many fantastic young adult books lately to take anything less than the best seriously. It must be something like the filthy, stinking, ridiculously rich, who are so used to their diet of massaged Kobe beef burgers and other gourmet delights that even a bit of our slovenly peon food makes them nauseous. Of course, everyone has a different interpretation of "the best," but we'll leave that alone.

See, I used to love my trashy, poorly-written YA books. I cherished them, flagrant overuse of the thesaurus and shoddy characterization aside. They were like candy - fun and tasty, but ultimately empty calories. I loved the things. It's easy to come across this kind of fiction in any genre, really, and as someone who gravitates toward the fantasy side of things, I read my fair share of sub-par writing. Hell, I religiously read the Dragonlance series once (or twice, or three times) a year for half a decade. I loved any and all Mercedes Lackey books I could get my hands on. This isn't meant to slam those books or their authors, but let's face it, they aren't exactly the top of the pile of well-written fantasy.

Even so, I loved them. I know that technically they don't fall under the YA header, but I'm counting them there because they were the books of my young adulthood. But now, I can't read them anymore. And I'm having problems getting past a few chapters in any book that doesn't stand up to the likes of The Book Thief, The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, or The Princess Bride. When you've had the best, how can you go back to the rest?

Maybe this book snobbery is fleeting. In a way, I hope so. Every book has its place, and I wouldn't want to discount one just because it doesn't fit in with the Higher Order of present-day young adult fiction!


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How About Them Apples?

June 2015


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