I’ve been falling down the YA hole for a while now. Recently it’s gotten worse. It all started when I saw the “Twilight” film. I have a thing for vampires, which I’ve explained here. But I only started reading it because I really liked the movie. I enjoyed reading the saga, it reminded me of my awkward teenage years, which is when I read lots of vampire books and wished for a boyfriend. I know there’s a lot of problems with the series, I’m not going to defend it. I’m not a “twihard,” I just enjoyed reading it. Now please let’s move on.
Then time passed and at first “Hunger Games” didn’t appeal to me because I thought like many that it was a rip off of “Battle Royale,” which I had seen and did not enjoy much. Then my dad said I should watch it and since he usually recommends good movies, I did. I was completely and utterly blown away. I think I got the book the next day.
The difference is that King wrote about boys, and Suzanne Collins wrote about a girl (and boys but mainly a girl). “Battle Royale” was also based on a book by Koushun Takami, published in 1999. So who ripped off who? Don’t know, don’t care. the point is “Hunger Games” brings girls to the fighting arena, so to speak.
This is what I think set my fangirl hormones in motion. Scott Mendelson wrote an interesting article in Forbes about how simplicity in marketing for a film can make or break a franchise. What I found most intriguing was his argument that “young-adult literary adaptations could well-be the female-skewing blockbuster alternative to the boy-centric superhero films that dominate multiplexes.” Of course, women should have their own superheroine movie, but even Wonder Woman can’t get a break in the silver screen (except in animated form, like on “Flash Point Paradox,” where she is both terrifying and amazing).
What ultimately drew me to read “Divergent” was not that it was “the next Hunger Games,” but that it was part of a world where I could geek out about. They were in Comic-Con, where sure even “Breaking Bad” was there, but somehow the world of fandom felt inviting. I’ve always been a little intimidated by comics for some reason although I’ve read a few (X-Men and American Vampire), but I prefer reading them in bulk. Trilogies and sagas are a little more my style. Of course, I do feel awkward when most of the fans are much younger than me. But I figured if my husband is not embarrassed when he pulls out his Superman wallet, why should I be embarrassed to wear my mockingjay necklace?
I had stopped reading fiction since college, and after that I think my world revolved around music and friends so much that I lost interest in reading. YA has reconnected me with my old love of reading.
I should mention that my reading level is higher in Spanish, because yes I know I’m too old to read and geek out so much on YA. Since English is my second language I’ve realized by reading a passage of Divergent in Spanish that it doesn’t grab me as much in my native language. I don’t think I would have finished the first book if I had read it in Spanish. In fact I remember I tried reading Harry Potter in Spanish and I couldn’t read more than the first page. Although it might have been the subject matter. Magic is just not my cup of tea. Dystopian and vampires are pretty much my areas of interest.
I just finished reading Delirium (the first and second book, Pandemonium) and I really liked it. The idea that love can be a disease is interesting. I certainly think it can be, when it becomes an obsession.
Which brings me to why I started writing this blog post at three in the morning while I should have been sleeping since I have to work tomorrow. Instead I’m obsessing about sappy lines and authoritarian governments.
I really really love the combination of decaying societies and midnight kisses. I loved reading “1984” and “Brave New World” in high school but romance wasn’t a big part of them. I didn’t really care for romantic scenes back then though. I was a much more intellectual person then, or so I thought. Maybe I’ve just gone soft over the years. They were both also from the male point of view, so I really like that there is so much speculative fiction out there now with “strong female characters” and so strong, in the case of Bella, for example. Either way, female characters are making their mark in dystopias and fantastic worlds and I could not be happier.
The only adult book I’ve read recently is “Truth in Advertising” by John Kenney which I enjoyed very much. So if anyone has a suggestion for non YA books that are kind of disenchanted with society but still searching for meaning and maybe being hopeful then please let me know. Or recommend more dystopian love, either way.