As a bloggers we receive many books from publishers each week and at least 95%, if not more, of those novels are of a supernatural persuasion. Now don’t get me wrong, some of my favourite books are from this genre: Richelle Mead’s Vampire Academy, Maggie Stiefvater’s Shiver, Cassandra Clare’s The Mortal Instruments and Holly Black’s Tithe. I just think with all of the attention on the paranormal we’re missing out on some stunning contemporary YA.
It was through contemporary novels that I fell in love with YA and it breaks my heart to think that those new to the genre may be bypassing these incredible reads. Most of the authors that I discovered during my introduction are now on my auto-buy list and it happens to contain very few paranormal authors... Lots of the chance finds I made encouraged me to start a blog and shout their praises from the rooftops and have shaped my reading, my writing and just me in general.
Sarah Dessen’s Just Listen was one of those early chance finds. The beautiful cover, an intriguing synopsis and the idea of reading a new-to-me author made me buy it. I fell in love. Since that day six or seven years ago I’ve read every novel she’s written and I will continue to do so until she stops publishing her work - it crushes me that a teenage girl walking into Waterstone’s tomorrow won’t be confronted with Sarah Dessen’s beautiful stories but with rows and rows of paranormal novels. Although Sarah is incredibly popular among lovers of contemporary YA, she just doesn’t get the shelf space and her novels become drowned by the likes of Becca Fitzpatrick, Alyson Noel, LJ Smith, PC Cast and the rest of the ‘dark romance’ authors. (I really do feel at this point that I need to reiterate that I do read (some) of these authors and thoroughly enjoy their novels, I just think there’s more to YA out there.)
It is entirely possible that without these early bumbling trips to my local library and bookshops I might never have discovered the delights of Sarah Dessen, Sarra Manning, Meg Rosoff, Melvin Burgess, Kevin Brooks and Louise Rennison. Now you would need to seek them out, probably on the recommendation of a seasoned YA reader or a trusted blogger, because you’d have a fairly difficult time dragging them out from behind the vampires, werewolves and angels by yourself.
So, am I over-reacting? Or do you agree? Disagree? Let me know in the comments.