Top Five Reasons to Read or Write YA

~ By Charity Tahmaseb 

Dear Readers,

Today, RWA Chick Lit Chapter member Charity Tahmaseb is giving us her top five reasons to love YA.

Read on!


1. The best kept secret of writing YA: It’s fun.

Writing YA can be a blast. Take, for instance, virtual dress shopping. I’m not much of a girly-girl and never have been, but nothing beats virtual dress shopping as “very crucial research you simply must do before you write.”

One of the manuscripts my writing partner and I worked on included a homecoming court–and we had to find dresses for all five homecoming queen candidates. Five different personalities! Five different dresses! I think this crucial research took at least two weeks.

2. Everything old is new again

Have you ever wanted to rewrite your past? Revisit that awful first day of senior year and give it a twist? Invent the perfect comeback for the class clown. Rewind that time you should’ve stood up for your best friend and didn’t. Insert your own angst here.

Sure, you may have to transport your inner sixteen-year-old to the twenty first century, but the things you felt in your teen years still apply. Besides, by rewriting your past, you may end up changing someone’s future.

3. Sky’s the limit

Want to travel in outer space? Attend a paranormal boarding school? Fall in love during the 1940s? Experience survival and romance in a “perfect” world gone wrong?

One of the best things about writing YA is your imagination rules. Not just in subject matter either. From fun and frothy to gritty and edgy, your teen protagonist can tell her story in her own voice.

4. Love at first sight

Young adult fiction deals with so many firsts–first kiss, first love, first rejection, first broken heart, first … zombie slaying. Seeing the world fresh again, in all its wonder and sorrow, is pretty amazing, no matter if you’re reading or writing.

5. Hope–the thing with feathers

Even the darkest young adult stories have a glimmer of hope at the end. Not only that, but many young adult novels have happily ever after–or at least, a happily ever after for now.

The thing about endings in young adult fiction is that they’re also beginnings. For all her struggles, the protagonist now stands ready to face new challenges, often with strength and insight she never knew she possessed.

As my writing partner and I like to term it: They all lived hopefully ever after. And who couldn’t use that thing with feathers?

Those are my top five, favorite reasons for writing–and reading–young adult fiction. What are yours?

Charity Tahmaseb has slung corn on the cob for Green Giant and jumped out of airplanes (but not at the same time). She doesn’t think it’s a social stigma to eat alone at a restaurant and read a book. Her favorite city is London, but she loves living in Minnesota. She spent twelve years as a Girl Scout and six in the Army; that she wore green for both may not be a coincidence. These days, she writes young adult fiction and works as a technical writer for a software company in St. Paul. Her young adult novel (written with co-author Darcy Vance), The Geek Girl’s Guide to Cheerleading, is a 2012 YALSA Popular Paperbacks

6 thoughts on “Top Five Reasons to Read or Write YA”

  1. Thank you for writing this post!

    I live by Number 5 in real life, so it comes through in the stories I write. They’re YA, partly because I love the genre, and partly because I’m still a teen (though I turn the Big 2 O in July).

    This post made me realise why I love to read and write YA… because it gives me hope that everything will be okay. Hope is really the thing with feathers. Emily Dickinson said it right. Hope takes away the burden of today and lifts you up no matter how bad tomorrow might seem.

    Also, it doesn’t hurt that you get to write literally anything in YA and still get away with it. 😉

  2. Changing someone’s future–that’s what writers did for me, and sharing a different perspective is why I write. Another thing to love about YA/Middle Grade–sexual tension is fine, kissing is excellent, but you can stop there!

  3. This is the line that grabbed me: “Seeing the world fresh again, in all its wonder and sorrow, is pretty amazing, no matter if you’re reading or writing.” As a reader, this has happened to me over and over again. As a writer, I haven’t achieved it to the same degree as the writers who have moved me. Your words will make me work even harder!!! Thanks. 🙂 Great post!!

  4. Loved this post. Thank you. Especially that last point: hope-the thing with feathers. That puts a smile on my face and my thoughts are running in many directions as I think about the concept. I may have to print that and tape it to my computer. ; )

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