Pearson, M. (2009, September 10). "What YA Lit is and isn't." Retrieved from: http://www.tor.com/blogs/2009/09/what-ya-lit-is-and-isnt
Up until this class it had been awhile since I had read tween or young adult fiction. Sure, I'd occasionally picked up a tween book now and then and read it, but then went right back to my adult fiction. Through my tweens materials class this semester I have had the opportunity to absolutely immerse myself in young adult books, focusing primarily on young adult fiction. This was an incredible experience for me, cathartic at times, as I recognized bits of my awkward former tween self within the characters of the books. Anyone who could possibly think that young adult fiction is just a watered down adult book has it dead wrong. These books I've read are meant for young people going through more changes mentally, emotionally, and physically than they will ever again in their lives. These books speak to those changes, the awakening of feelings of empathy or lack of self-identity. Characters like Gypsy and Woodrow from Belle Prater's Boy deal with heavy issues, such as the loss of their parents and how their small town views them. Books like Are You There God, It's Me Margaret teach about physical changes in a young girls' life how no nonfiction book on puberty ever could, as told by a tween girl, with human feelings and concerns included.
These books tackle heavy issues like racism, death, religion, disease, and war. There are many who focus on friendships or interpersonal relationships, also often heavy and complex topics within tweens' lives. These books I've read have also come from all directions, conservative in their approach to tween issues, or incredibly liberal. I have enjoyed them all, as they have reminded me of what it was like to be a tween, the good and the bad. After these last few months of reading tween books I feel as if I've been able to reconnect with my inner tween and have a better understanding of tweens themselves. I would encourage anyone who has smirked at me noticing the tween book in my hands to pick up some young adult fiction and read it for yourself. You may be surprised to learn some important lessons in life you had forgotten.