So I thought I’d post something else under Yearning for YA. I know I haven’t posted about that in a while, so why not?
The YA Literature class I’m in is fascinating. For some reason, I love reading about different genres of writing aimed at young adults. Anyway, I wanted to talk a bit about my favorite genre that we’ve covered so far: fantasy.
As some regular readers of my blog may already know, my favorite book is in the fantasy genre. That said, it does not cover the area of magic that the genre often does. What makes it fantasy is that the main characters (rabbits) are anthropomorphized. But they act like animals, so it’s along the lines of something I’d call realistic fantasy, in that it covers situations that could happen to rabbits. The only difference is that the reader can understand them, something not possible in the real world.
Reading The Graveyard Book for class got me into Gaiman, so I picked up The Ocean at the End of the Lane, which does deal with magic. Graveyard does, too, only to a somewhat lesser extent.
When my interest in reading was still growing, I was really into Jenny Nimmo’s Charlie Bone series (perhaps that’s why I particularly love British literature. Maybe….). Looking back, I remember wondering if the young boy would reach his goal of finding his missing father. I know that was the hook that kept me going for the first five books, but even after that I was dying to see how the series would end. Good fantasy stories can stand on their own while also carrying a series, as is the case with Nimmo’s work.
I’ve often been particularly cautious with the books I choose to read, and it’s the reason I have trouble looking for new books to read. I’m not easy to please, and I often worry that a fantasy work I read may disappoint me.
But reading about what makes the fantasy genre what it is has been an incredible experience. It’s particularly interesting to see what young adults are into in the fantasy genre. It wasn’t that big of a surprise to learn that they want to relate to the stories, even if the genre is fantasy. We all want something to relate to in a story, otherwise we can’t connect to it as easily.
Take the book I’m reading for my Literary Studies class. Dracula, I’m sure, is a fantastic, brilliant story, but so far I haven’t really connected to it. I’m guessing that’s because it’s a bit melodramatic, which most fantasy novels today tend to avoid. Or at least should avoid, if you ask me.
What I liked in particular about The Graveyard Book is that it explored something fairly unique in YA literature – how many YA novels out there tackle revenge as a main theme? Besides Gaiman, I can only really think of one other YA author who did that. Because most young adults don’t have a reason to think about the idea of revenge. I went after this idea myself in a manuscript I wrote a thousand years ago. I’m not saying my work was unique as a whole (far from it – I actually think I made it rather dull) but the idea seemed new.
Another subject I’ve noticed in YA literature is the theme of growing up, which transcends all genres in YA, not just fantasy. But fantasy can do the impossible, so in the right hands, it’s more fun, isn’t it? I, for one, still can’t get over how much I loved the man Jack in Graveyard, and how, in facing the criminal, Bod realized who he really was as a person, thus maturing on a whole new level that was really amazing to see.
Anyway, I think I’ve made my point and droned on long enough. Keep looking out for more updates on Yearning for YA. (There’s a genre we just finished covering that I still need to cover in this project). I’ll try to have that up within the coming week!