Recently, I got into a debate about why I read Young Adult fiction (on account of not being a young adult, apparently). I’ve been thinking about this a lot since, trying to come up with a comprehensive argument. But I don’t need to argue, I just need to explain. And the best way? Eleanor and Park.
I’ve had my eye on this one for a while and recently went for it. Best decision ever. This book is beautiful. It’s love, but not as you know it. It’s young and raw with a truth that I believe you can only find in young adult fiction. Good young adult fiction. Written by those who can find a teenage voice and make it real. It’s about, as they often are, a boy and a girl falling in love and finding out who they are. I’ve written a few versions of this post, and most tried to explain how formative truly excellent young adult fiction can be, the books that I’ve had for years and years, that I turn to when I need comfort or direction (and that’s become another post entirely). The stumbling block, was trying to explain why I still read them. Because that was at the crux of my discussion – why read something not targeted to you (me)? I read them because they remind me of being 14, 15, 16…, because the strength of feeling can be overwhelming as it can be now at 27 but which isn’t articulated in “adult” fiction (not sure how to phrase that without implying I’m writing about Fifty Shades of Grey), because they make me feel the way my favourite songs do – in touch, thoughtful, ready, emotional, free, willing and able. They speak of possibility, of the fact that bad things happen to good people. Because no parent should bury their child. And I am not yet a parent, but I have been a child. We have all been children and we can all relate from that direction.
Read Eleanor and Park.