Thinking of a blog post is never easy. In fact, until last week I had absolutely no idea what I would write about. You all may not know this about me but I'm intensely shy. I suffer from severe stage fright. It's ridiculous, I know. Still, it's a part of who I am and I worried that whatever I had to say would fail to meet the expectations of this wonderful group that I'm lucky to be a part of.
Fortunately something happened last week (and not the my-laptop-broke something) that provided inspiration.
I've been blogging on my own blog A New Kind of Ordinary for almost a year now. At some point during this time, my blog became a book blog. It was a natural transition given my profound and undying love for the written word. I've posted reviews on my blog regularly along with other content and never really thought my opinion was affecting anyone. I wrote mostly for me because I love to talk books.
I've seen it before all over reviews on Amazon and Goodreads where people declare a book is not YA simply because it doesn't meet their standard for a young adult book. Various Positions has received a lot of comments like this. But really, who are we to judge? Can we really determine what is YA based upon our own personal experiences? If so, then Various Positions, in my opinion, is most definitely intended for a YA audience. Albeit a more mature YA audience but a YA audience nonetheless.
Since they hadn't, their argument was limited to name calling and bullying, expecting to shame me with their outrage.
After running the gamut of emotions, I finally figured out that I didn't care. My blog is family friendly. Yes, I write and review some books that are dark, edgy, or intended for a mature YA audience, but I always warn readers and allow them to make the decision to read or not to read on their own.
As a reader and a writer, I'm okay with sex and violence in YA literature. I'm okay with drinking and swearing and abuse. And no amount of bullying will change my position. Because somewhere out there someone is experiencing some or all of these things.
I don't condone these things but I won't denounce them either. It's life and some teenagers are going to drink and have sex whether or not they read certain books.
Yes, Various Positions tackles some edgy themes. The main character, Georgia, talks a lot about sex and fantasizes about her ballet instructor, and loses her virginity when she's drunk at a party to some boy she barely knows. But here's the thing, no one has the same young adult experience. Not everyone's teenage years are filled with rainbows and sunshine. Some of us have to deal with dark things too early.
Some of us lose our V-card in the back of a truck with some guy we're not even sure we like when we've had too much to drink. And while we can't remember saying no, we sure as hell didn't say yes. And we blame ourselves. We think that maybe if we'd been smarter, we wouldn't have been alone and drunk with a boy in the first place. If we hadn't worn that shirt or if we hadn't shared that first kiss. We feel alone and confused and we don't realize that we aren't the only ones experiencing these emotions.
I write for those kids.
The ones that remind me so much of me at that age. And I pray that what I, and other authors who look into the dark, have to say offers them a comfort the world oftentimes cannot.