I assume all of you have seen the #YAsaves trend on Twitter, but if not, check it out. I've read a few hauntingly powerful posts in reflection of the @wsj article and have been inspired to add my voice to the mix.
The most important thing I've noticed from all the tweets are the many people who have written that they wish they would have had access to the YA books that teenagers have today. I was lucky to have grown up when YA books were becoming popular, though not as they are today.
Depite having a wide group of friends, several best friends, and always havign something to do on weekends, I grew up a very lonely girl. My close family saved me from expressing my sadness and lonliness in negative ways, but it wasn't until the end of college that I finally understood that lonely was just a part of me. Once I accepted that, it became okay and it no longer hurts me like it once did.
While I don't have a story like many of those I have read, I still connect and understand that it was books that saved me. I spent enormous amounts of time at the library, feeling the bindings of books, wanting to jump between their pages. Concocting stories of my own is what carried me from day to day. When I didn't know how to express what I felt, books did. This is why I write- I want to give that to another person who needs it. In books, there is always a safe place to escape to when the real world doesn't provide that.
YA isn't too dark, it reflects reality and educates teenagers on aspects of life they need to know about. More often than not, kids don't become aware of issues like anorexia, cutting, suicide, and rape until it confronts them in real life. This should not be the case. Kids need a safe place they can learn about these things and know how to react when they happen in life. I say there needs to be more YA and absolutely, never in any way, should there be censorship of the written word.
Thank you to everyone out there for helping put to words why I write and read, and why YAsaves