Friday, July 1, 2011

I probably am the perpetual teenager when it comes to reading choices. Since elementary days up to post-college years, I still enjoy reading novels targeted at hormonally imbalanced pre-adults. When it comes to YA Novels, I think I've read them all, at least the ones people are talking about. Yes, I've endured even the phenomenal Twilight series with its neuron-killing plot and a heroine you'd want to beat with Thor's hammer.

Stephanie Meyer's books aside, I just love the genre. There's this light and free-flowing feeling I get when I read books in the YA category. I especially like those which are infused with supernatural / dystopian alternate universe element to them. Think The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins and The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare.

And yes, it gets formulaic sometimes, when the Ordinary Girl meets Tortured Mysterious New Student Guy Who May Or May Not Be Human in Science class. Then there's the sexy and heart-palpitating Forbidden Love arc after we find out that the protagonist is actually a Vampire / Werewolf / Fallen Angel / Witch. Reading novels like these is simple and entertaining and I pursue it even though it may not give a 20-something young professional like me bragging points when asked what kind of books have I perused.

The problem is this: There may be a myriad of books to choose from in this category with international books, so much that sometimes their world and themes overlap, however, there is a lot of catching up to do with regards to our local literature. All I see are children's books, chick lits and award-winning deep novels about poverty, corruption and drugs that are way too depressing for a teenager to spend time on. There is simply not much to choose from in the YA arena, if at all.

Having read countless of these kind of novels set in New York, or some other city in the United States, I do wish to be able to read one set here locally in our country just so it can be much more relatable to our teens. Imagine Good vs. Evil battling it out in Tondo or a Shopaholic desperately haggling in Divisoria. Our country, our places, our customs, mannerisms are so rich with potential I'm disappointed that, with all the talented writers we have, not a lot have attempted to flourish in such a popular category. 

I believe in the power of reading and how it helps form the mind of an individual, especially when they start at a young age. Young Adult fiction books have their own special power because the characters in the books are especially formulated so that readers can relate to them. It puts a person into other worlds and situations that would be dangerous otherwise if done in real life but gives off the same lessons that could be learned from such scenarios. 

I do hope that with the rise of the international YA scene, our country follows. There is so much untapped power in the genre that I think, if written brilliantly, could upset the long standing bestseller's list dominated by international titles. Now that is a novel I would be proud to read.


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