As much as I love young adult fiction, a steady diet of one thing is bad, and so I’ve found myself reading a lot of adult fiction during the late winter and spring. At first I told myself that it was because I had “homework” for Booktopia 2012, which I recently attended in Manchester, VT. Me being me, I did feel compelled to read the latest books by all of the authors in attendance, and I did start some of the back catalogue as well. However, as I look at my nightstand, desk, coffee table, and pretty much any flat surface that holds books in my house, I realize that I’m still grabbing adult fiction. This is not Booktopia’s fault. I recently read Marisa de los Santos’ newest book and A Change in Altitude by Anita Shreve – neither author attended Booktopia. So why am I grabbing adult and leaving YA to sit collecting dust?
This question has plagued me. Especially because it’s the end of April and I don’t have a May Schmidt’s Pick yet.
I think the problem is very simple. Quite simple. Simplistically simple.
Everything on my YA pile (well, maybe an exaggeration but not a gross exaggeration) seems to be part of a trilogy or series. EVERYTHING. I just can’t seem to motivate myself to commit to another series. I know my students love them. And yes, to some degree, I love them. There’s something about picking up a book in a series and finding yourself reconnecting with old friends. However, there’s something really horrible about picking up a book in a series and having no idea what happened last because you read the last book a year ago. I just experienced that when I picked up Fear by Michael Grant. And to his credit, he’s not an author who gives the reader pages and pages and pages of backstory as refresher. So as I sit here writing this, I can honestly say that I’m eagerly awaiting Insurgent by Veronica Roth and City of Lost Souls by Cassandra Clare. But I don’t know if I actually have the energy to read them right now. Somehow the concept of a series is draining me. I need a stand-alone.
I did read and thoroughly love Chomp by Carl Hiaasen. As I read, I knew this was my April Schmidt’s Pick, and I was lucky enough to have him inscribe a book to my class(es). One of my students wanted to know if she had to read his first books before she read Chomp, or would she understand Chomp without having read the rest. I had to explain that Chomp was its own book – a stand alone , there were no others. She thought for a bit and then looked up at me with smile. “You mean, I can just read this book?” she asked, grinning. “Cool.”
Until next time… See YA!