Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

A Love Letter to YA

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Sometimes it feels like we don't choose what we want to write but it chooses us. I think it's the same with whatever genre we end up writing in -- things just fall into place. I was reading young adult (YA) books before it was even officially a genre. I grew up devouring Ann M. Martin's The Babysitters Club series, sitting on the floor of Chapters (back when Indigo was Chapters!) and trying to decide between two books before my parents smiled and agreed to buy me two more for my collection. They would probably be considered middle grade books now, but I also loved Kit Pearson's A Handful of Time about a girl time travelling after discovering a watch and The Daring Game about a group of boarding school girls who secretly meet at night. And after spending my teenage years watching the fast talk, heartache and drama of Dawson's Creek and My So-Called Life, it was no wonder I chose YA as my genre.

So this is a love letter for YA, the genre that I love to write and read in. There's a few reasons why this genre is so much fun.

1.) There are genres within the genre. Contemporary, fantasy, paranormal -- they all fall within the YA category. Some authors, of course, stick to one of the subgenres, only writing contemporary romance or fantasy, but others switch around.

2.) The themes are heightened. First love, friendship, family, coming-of-age -- these are the typical themes in YA novels, and they always feel fresh and new, no matter how many times they show up, because the characters are feeling them for the first time.

3.) Constant drama. This is similar to the above point. I love Sara Shepard's Pretty Little Liars series because it's so dramatic, with twists and turns on almost every page. Drama is a fact of life in YA, and I love that.

4.) Everyone can relate. Chances are you remember your teen years strongly, whether fondly or not, and that's why many readers of YA aren't teens at all but older.

5.) YA books can help. Books are always a comfort during tough times, and since YA books sometimes deal with issues, they can help people feel less alone and maybe even save someone's life. Or in other words, YA Saves, as this blog shows:

See you tomorrow! I'll be writing about one of my influences.

The views expressed in the Writer-in-Residence blogs are those held by the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of Open Book: Toronto.

Aya Tsintziras

Aya Tsintziras is the author of the YA novel Pretty Bones, which was selected for the Canadian Book Centre's Best Books for Kids and Teens in Spring 2012. She has a BA in Political Science from the University of Toronto and is currently pursuing a Masters of Journalism at Ryerson University.

Go to Aya Tsintziras’s Author Page