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Monday, August 30, 2010

Young Adult Novels are worth paying full price for

I don't pay full price for many things, but Mocking Jay, a Young Adult novel by author Suzanne Collins is a worth paying full price for.

Yeah, I admit I’m a reader of Young Adult(YA); a YA junkie if you will.  I’m almost forty, so I hope that’s alright.

“In Defense of Grown Women Reading Y.A. Literature” journalist Emily Gordon writes

“Young Adult lit is escapist, but beyond that, for women who constantly evaluate every situation from all angles and lament that none of their choices seem clear-cut, a good old-fashioned black-and-white struggle is soothing. Our lives are adult literature, so why on Earth would we want to entertain ourselves with adult literature?" 
Click here to read more

So, now that we’re all on the same page, I must say I devoured the first two books of The Hunger Games Trilogy.  My ten-year old son Chandler decided to read them too.  We bonded over blood, guts and death.  We also bonded over amazing writing. 
That Suzanne Collins not only has the most spectacular imagination, but she is quite the writer.   
As a wanna-be-writer dreaming of publication, I have a little confession.
What is it about The Hunger Games Trilogy that leaves me feeling like I am the fuddy-duddiest writer out there? 
Like I just fell in the mud face first. 

Like I’m wearing two left mix-matched shoes.
If Suzanne Collin’s novel is written for the young adult audience, then my novel is so 3rd grade.
If Mocking Jay is as good as Hunger Games and Catching Fire, than I’m doomed because I don’t think I have it in me to go that deep.
That’s what I feel great writing is; going somewhere others haven’t braved to go.  I’m talking mentally, of course, challenging your mind to work overtime.
That’s how I felt when I read Stephenie Meyer’s The Host

Who goes there?   

Who thinks like that?

Great writers do.
But they are plenty of times I read a book (I won’t give away any titles, that wouldn’t be very nice) and think “Well, why is that book published and not mine?”
Why do we compare ourselves to others?  Why do we care?

Is it human nature?  Do we think we have to be “as good as?”
I look up to writers like a little kid looks up to his teachers.  I have such admiration for the accomplishment of publication that I can almost taste it.
I had the chance to meet author Jay Asher when he spoke at a literary conference in New York.
His first YA novel Thirteen Reasons Why is a literary success, making the New York Times best selling list.
Jay’s speech was titled “How to Get Published in 12 Years Or Less”.   
Basically, he went through the past 12 years of his life and shared all the rejection, heart ache and desperation.  He did this with the most sincere sense of humor I’ve ever heard.  Such a sad story (with a happy ending) had the audience crying through our laughter.    He lightened up a room full of uptight, insecure unpublished authors and reminded us that writing is about going to a place that is exciting for you.  Pushing yourself, working hard and most importantly, enjoying the small successes along the way.
I paid full price for his book too.  It was worth every penny.
I can’t wait to read Mocking Jay.  I’m sure it will inspire me to keep writing because every story is worth telling, even if it doesn't include blood, guts and death.
Linking up to:

Jenny Matlock


  1. How funny, just finished Mockinjay tonight after the kiddos went to bed. I was satisfied as a 30 something mom of four, haha!
    BTW I just thought I'd put this out there...a friend at church just "published" her book online at Smashwords on her own after years of rejection letters. It's free to publish it and you can read the first 30 percent of the book but then to download a digital copy it's $3.50(well, her book is anyway). Smashword gets a small cut of that purchase price. It may be the way to go especially if you have a base of readers that want to know what you have to write!!!!
    Thanks for all the inspiration. I don't know how you do it, when I can barely keep the laundry done with my four!

  2. Mistylynn, thank you for making this girl smile. You are too sweet for words, but I'll try with a few.

  3. That has to be the most creative styled post I've ever seen. Thanks for sharing your authentic feelings... and yes, just have your own voice and don't compare... A rejection of your manuscript is certainly not a rejection of you... and rarely has anything to do with the worth of your words... Self-publishing may indeed be the way to do.

  4. This sounds like it will be a wonderful book.

  5. Well, I need to really start writing a post that is worth reading. That one of yours...I read every word. You are a good writer and I hope that you get published soon.

  6. Wow, Kelly. I really like this post. It feels very relevant to me, right now. I scare myself. I read other peoples writing and think, hmmm... mine doesn't feel anything like that...maybe mine is wrong.

    I see YA as a genre popping up all over and I think maybe I need to explore it a bit. Perhaps I will order this recommendation, although it might make even more leary about trying to step into the world of print.

    Thank you for this link.

    It was very thought provoking.

    And I definitely have to give you an A+ for linking to Rainbow Summer School. Incredibly creative.


  7. I'm right with you. I am much closer to 50 than 40 and YA is what I love to read the most.

    We can't all write like Suzanne Collins, but that's a good thing, right? We each have our own voices and that's what makes reading different authors so cool.

    As for going 'deep,' I would encourage you to check out Jennifer Griffiths blog at She is a published author who doesn't write 'deep' things and is very happy and secure with her place in the literary market.

    Please, give us Laura, not Suzanne or anyone else. We already have them. What we need is you!

  8. I guess the best way to put what I want to say is, don't sacrifice yourself and your writing style simply because it isn't the style that is selling like hot cakes.

    Popularity and selling large quantities doesn't mean that the book is of good quality, or something that should be sold as YA for that matter.

    What I am seeing is an influx of blatant wish fulfillment Mary Sues that may not be remembered in the years to come, and if they are remembered, they'll be remembered as the thing that people ask why they read it.

    I would much rather publish something that is remembered with positive nostalgia, more then anything, even if it means I don't sell. Then again, while I might eventually make a profit off my writing, it isn't the most important thing for me.