During highschool I had to deal with teachers that would grab my books from my desk and ironically ask me why do I spend time reading wastepaper. I do agree to the fact that if my universal literature teacher would’ve read The Hunger Games, or Shatter Me, maybe she wouldn’t have enjoyed them. But this thing is connected, evidently, to a age difference, the context we grew up in and, of course, personal preference. Anyhow, love for literature shouldn’t be judged according to genres, it shoudn’t be judged at all.
But there are people even worse than my teacher. Those that believe themselves to be better readers than others. Well, let me tell you something. Even if the morning finds you with a book in your hands, or if at 10 o’clock in the evening you carefully put it on the nightstand and wait for the next day to continue, or if you forget to get out of the train because you’re so engaged in your reading process, or you don’t even care to pull out the book from your bag because you had a shitty day and you can’t concentrate, you are not special. If your book marks are hand made, or you put between the pages anything that comes into your hands, if you underline every quote, or you copy them in a special notebook to not damage the book, if you only read classics, or science-fiction written after 2008, well, you are not special and we’re all equal to the Book God, I guarantee.
One of my personal dilemmas will forever be the sharp refusal of our teachers to accept the fact that contemporary fiction can be meaningful. I don’t see how something that supports the values of love, the importance of courage or the power of self sacrifice can be called wastepaper.
There are huge differences, indeed, when you compare young-adult fiction to classical literature. But if I use the touch screen of my smartphone to access something on Google, while I press the magical button of my coffee maker (you got the point), I will notice that there are differences in every domain of human existence. It’s called evolution. Yeah, I know evolution can have its bad implications, but let’s not discuss this here.
For me, young-adult fiction means an easy, fluid read. It means a few hours of calmness and peace when I’m not asked to critically analyze from a literary point of view the character’s childhood, the purpose of the antagonist in the main character’s pshychological development, or the theme of love in relationship with the Sun’s position (just to make sure, last part was ironic).
I do encourage you to read classics. But the thing is, I encourage you to read anything. Read as much as you can. Poetry, science-fiction, theatre plays, novels, romantic literature, tragical stories, anything. It’s a way to learn from other people’s mistakes, or just to enrich your soul with beautiful stories.