At some point in their life, every teen will read a Stephen King book. I remember being in the 6th grade when we were supposed to be reading The Hobbit, instead I spent that week reading It by Stephen King. I didn't take away from it what you would think I would, no fear of clowns, sewers or spiders. No, instead I took away a deep longing for a childhood of mystery and friendship and a special bond forged in one one magical (and yes, terrifying) town. Today, author Chloe Jacobs shares with us her love of YA lit and Stephen King. (PS, please don't tell my 6th grade teacher, but I have still never read The Hobbit.)
We have a lot offantastic young adult fiction to choose from these days. Everything the heartcould desire. From contemporary stories about fitting in and finding love, tohorror and dystopians. Vampires and magic. Books for young adults are deep,dark, smart, and amazingly refreshing. They challenge teens and adults alike.They ask us to believe in ourselves and what we can do. They don’t patronize teens,talk down to them, or pander to the expectations of a society that onlypretends to understand what our young people go through on a daily basis. Not comparedto the fodder that was available for the age group even ten or fifteen yearsago.
I remember standing infront of the shelves at the library when I was fifteen with so much frustrationbecause the books they said were for my “age” were So. Freaking. Boring.Patronizing. Contrived. I knew then it was either give up on them, or give upon reading altogether. (I thought about taking up extreme skateboarding, but Ihave absolutely NO coordination). It’s a good thing I just gave up on those“teen” books instead of reading altogether, and moved on to bigger and better books.If not, who knows where I’d be today. I have a feeling it wouldn’t be in frontof a computer, writing stories about fantasy worlds that make me so excited Iwant to shout it out to the world!
Once I did leave thatchildren’s area of the library and venture into the books for adults, I read somany great stories, and yet…I am certain that many of the books I was drawn to thenwould be categorized as young adult if they were published today.
For example, The Talisman (co-written by Stephen Kingand Peter Straub) published in 1984, is not a YA – or at least it wasn’tconsidered to be when I found it on the shelf – even though it’s about a twelveyear old kid named Jack who sets out on an epic adventure in an attempt to savehis mother, who lies in a crappy hotel room dying of cancer. Along the way, hefinds himself travelling sometimes in our world, and other times in anotherworld that exists parallel to ours. In both worlds, though, there are peopleworking to stop Jack from reaching the one thing that may be able to help hismother.
When I think of thisbook, I remember that it had all of the things I love about YA books today. It’snot a perfect book by any means (the pacing can be slow, and some of thesituations require some suspension of disbelief). But the characters are fantastic,and Jack’s journey is so full of growth, his pain and desperation are so real,that when I sat down with the book at the age of fifteen, I went on thatjourney with him. I felt his loneliness and his fear.
But why did I decideto blog about this old book that was published in the 1980s when I could havechosen any number of fabulous YA books that have come out this year? Because aweek before I found this book my grandfather died. He was the ultimatedefinition of “cantankerous old coot” but he loved me unconditionally, and Iloved him so much I couldn’t breathe when I heard how sick he was. I couldn’tbreathe, or see, or stand. And I was angry. Soangry. Because he hadn’t told me—nobody had told me—until it was too late. Itall happened so fast. He was already in the hospital. Already slipping away.And I felt cheated. There wasn’t enough time to say good bye the way I wouldhave wanted to.
And afterward, The Talisman was the first book I read.It not only helped me keep my love of reading alive when I had almost given upon it. It was also the book that helped me come to terms with the anger andpain that overwhelmed me when my grandfather died of cancer. Because Jack wason the same road as I was. Both of us were fighting not to let go of the peoplewe loved, fighting to keep them from succumbing to the sickness that would dragthem out of our lives before we were ready.
This is why I’mexcited about the books available to young adults today. When my heart hurt andI felt sorrow so deep I didn’t know how to deal with it, I couldn’t talk toanyone about how I was feeling. I was at the age when I didn’t really want totalk to anyone about anything. Not to mention, my whole family was upset andgrieving, and I thought that “complaining” about how sad I was would only make mattersworse. But when I found the right book, I also found the ability to work out myemotions and find some manner of peace…and everyone should have thatopportunity. The opportunity to find peace. The opportunity to find acceptance,understanding, and even love.
Do you think Stephen King should be an honorary YA author? Who else would you make an honorary YA author? And what adult books did you read as a teen that would probably be published as YA today?
Chloe Jacobs is anative of nowhere and everywhere, having jumped around to practically everyProvince of Canada before finally settling in Ontario where she has now beenliving for a respectable number of years. Her husband and son are the two bestpeople in the entire world, but they also make her wish she'd at least gotten afemale cat. No such luck. And although the day job keeps her busy, she carvesout as much time as possible to write. Bringing new characters to life andfinding out what makes them tick and how badly she can make them suffer is oneof her greatest pleasures, almost better than chocolate and fuzzy pink bunnyslippers.
|Greta and the Goblin King (The Mylena Chronicles book 1) by Chloe Jacobs|
Coming in November of 2012 by Entangled Publishing
Herdebut Young Adult fantasy, GRETA ANDTHE GOBLIN KING, will be available everywhere in November 2012! In the meantime,check her out online…