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Why YA? Bitterblue (Kristin Cashore) as discussed by Annette Birdsall

Bitterblue is book three in the Graceling Realm trilogy by Kristin Cashore.  Cashore’s books (Graceling, Fire, and Bitterblue) explore a fantasy world where an evil kind has ruled and some people have special abilities called a Grace.  When you write a book series, you run the risk of not satisfying some of your fans with a latter book in a series.  Keep in mind, there are many people out there that have intense negative feelings about Mockingjay and the way that Suzanne Collins ended the Hunger Games trilogy.  In that same vein, it has been interesting to read the reactions and discussion about Butterblue. Like with the Hunger Games trilogy, some fans have not been satisfied with this story.  Today, as part of our Why YA? series, librarian Annette Birdsall writes about Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore.



I’ve been able to delay answering the question of Why YA? for quite some time since my job as a youth consultant meant that I have to read YA and picture books and those wonderful Alex award winners which I’m more than a little drawn to…

And I’ve even written articles on great YA books that are perfect for adults.  But I did not answer the inherent question.  Not why do I read YA, but why do I seek out great YA books; why do I favor them?

Now that I’m facing some career changes, I want to answer that question.

It’s not that they are fast paced or less complex or that I’m not an ‘adult’ reader – whatever that is.

It’s that there is so much room in my own response and personal reflection– a connection to the story that happens in my other favorite writing – poetry. So let’s get particular and address why I loved Bitterblue.
“The more I see and hear, the more I realize how much I don’t know.” (from Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore)

The reviews of Bitterblue have been positive from readers like me and negative from readers who were annoyed with Bitterblue.  For me, the confusion and fog she felt were mirrored in the writing.  I connected with that expression, joined her journey and came to some lovely moments of realization about love and friendship and gifts of healing.  Cashore’s writing allowed me that grace, if you will pardon that.  And in really good, entertaining stories with really good writing, those internal journeys happen over and over for me in YA lit.
“…that’s how memory works … Things disappear without your permission, then come back again without your permission.”  (from Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore)
I’d have to tell you much too much of my personal life to share what that means, but in those great stories there is room for me.  Selfish, juvenile, who cares?  “We’ll sort it out slowly … The coming was as real as the going, and the coming would always be a promise.  It would have to be good enough.”

So in Cashore’s own words I read for that promise.  And I thank all the YA authors whose writing is ‘good enough.’ 

“…when truths disappear, they leave behind blank spaces, and that is also dangerous.”  (from Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore)
Annette Birdsall is the Youth Services Consultant for the Finger Lakes Library System in New York.  You can share about a book that you love with your own Why YA? post.  Find out how here.
Be sure to tell us in the comments how you felt about Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore.