On Why YA Is Popular Plus Special Excerpt from WIP "Ashes for Skin"

I lost yesterday's post, but on a positive note: Blogger is back! Hooray! I know it was inconvenient, but for someone who is tech-handicapped like me, I can only say I'm in awe with what they have to deal with--there's a million and more blogs on blogspot (which translates to a million and more unhappy bloggers yesterday) and really people, that's a LOT. Which means, Blogger had a lot of work to do to get their server running. Not easy. So I say let's cut them some slack for letting us get some downtime and sunshine (Did you go outside? It is beautiful. There's more to life than the web, you know.)

Anyway, I have to rewrite my post since I forgot to back it up apparently. I managed to back up the other posts, but I overlooked this one. Which is no biggie. It's not like it was universe-changing or whathaveyou.

So. YA. Why is it so popular? I see literary agents taking up YA when they didn't use to before. I hear people discussing YA books, and they're not the ones with purple- streaked hair, emo shirts, and TEEN ANGST invisibly tattooed on their foreheads. We're talking 20ish, just barely leaving their teenage years behind, or the 30-and-uppish reliving what shenanigans they were up to in those bygone days.

Why do we prowl the YA section at the library, hoping our daughter's schoolmates won't see us snatching the last Twilight book off the shelf?

I'm sure there are varying reasons. Feel free to share if you want. I like YA because it wasn't that long ago for me when I went through the phase of "I'm SO MISUNDERSTOOD". I remember wanting acceptance. There's the thrill of growing and coming into your own. The future seemed so endless and full of possibilities and dreams. *Not saying we stop dreaming at 40, or 50, or even 80. We can always dream.*

The YA phase is of volatile emotions, of passion and recklessness, of feeling alive and learning lessons. It's waiting by the bus stop in the rain, hoping to catch a glimpse of that someone. It's falling down and getting back up again.

YA stories are inside of us.

Young Love
Photo by Boris SV

And now, here's an excerpt from a different WIP I had filed away in my desktop: Ashes for Skin. It's post-apocalyptic and YA, of course. I usually post excerpt from my current WIP Hidden, but I'm working on some scenes right now. This is the first page...enjoy.


It is only when the fire starts to roar that I stop in the middle of the path to turn around. Black smoke swirls upward as high as the heavens go. Orange-red flames peek from my bedroom window and lick the fraying ends of the thatched roof. Ravenous inferno consuming everything once familiar to me: the paisley patterns on my father’s old chair, my bookcase littered with dog-eared books, the yellow flimsy curtains hanging by the kitchen window…. I can’t see them now, can’t see what the inside of the house looks like, but there’s enough memory to supply me the images in my mind.
Someone tugs at my hand, urging me to move. I don’t turn to look, don’t turn to see who has come to save me. There is no saving me. My soul is burning along with the house. Along with the woman flailing her arms through a hole the fire has made in the wall. Her mouth is wide open, her shrieks mingling with the cackling of the flames. Even through the haze I see her lips move, mouthing a word. My name.
I watch her pleading for life even as the fire melts her skin. I shake my head at her and hold up my blistered hands. The smell of kerosene envelopes me, seeping through my pores. As if it’s trying to fuse with my blood. To stamp the color of hell inside my veins. To never let me forget how I killed the woman in the house. My own mother.


Dawn Kurtagich said...

Powerful stuff. Thanks so much for sharing!

cherie said...

Hi Dawn! Thank you and thanks for following my blog as well. Welcome to my little haven. Feel free to explore. ;)

Cheryl said...

Re why YA is suddenly so hot:

Maybe it's because YA is read by everyone if it's a good read. No worries about erotic scenes or too-obscene language for your thirteen-year-old. The story has to be direct and the pacing has to be good to keep a fifteen-year-old's attention. The twenty-something's can use rose-colored glasses or say, "Uh huh. That's how it was," remembering their own teen years.

So what's not to like?

Ashley Nixon said...

Wow, I loved your excerpt! That was great.

Yeah, I'm not sure. When I was a teen I liked classics, and I still do more so than YA. When I read YA, I read it fast, so maybe that's why? It's a quick read.

Jemi Fraser said...

Wow! That's power. Nicely done!!

YA didn't exist when I was a kid. I went straight from reading Anne of Green Gables and The Hobbit to adult stuff. Mostly Agatha Christie. Then pretty much everything else! My tastes were eclectic even then :)

Bethany C. said...

oooh..I love this line: To stamp the color of hell inside my veins. -- hell in your veins, that's NEVER good.
beautiful, friend!

cherie said...

Hello lovelies!

@Cheryl: Yup, YA is mostly fast-paced and easy to read. Does that mean adults have short attention spans now too? LOL! There wasn't any YA when I was in high school, so I read the classics. Hard to read but worth the effort. Some YA novels are beautifully written and a fast read at the same time. I love those kinds of books because it lets me read 4-5 books in a week. The downside is I probably won't reread unless if it's something I really and absolutely love.

@Ashley: Hey, hey smarty pants! Bet you're glad school is over for now. I love the classics too. ;)

@Jemi: I loved Agatha Christie! I read it during high school (not for a class), and I should revisit her books again.

@Bethany: Hi purple sistah! (You and Marewulf. She had a comment here too but Blogger gobbled it up). Thank you, thank you! I am in love with that line too. It's one of my darlings ;)

T.S. Welti said...

I absolutely loved that excerpt! Seriously. Why did you stuff this WIP in a drawer, if you don't mind my asking? This is such a powerful, visual way to start. You can see the flames, you can smell the kerosene, you can even feel the heat of the fire on her back. Great job. I hope you return to this WIP. I'd like to read more.

BTW, I love YA because being an adult is hard and reading middle-grade and YA novels helps me escape to a place when life was a little more simple. :)

Maria Papadopoulou said...

Wow, how intense! I felt I was actually there!
By the way, I loved the notebook format. So cute!

cherie said...

@T.S.: Thank you! That means a lot to me. This is a project that I am going to work on after I finish Hidden. I started it last year, but then I got distracted with my other WIP. I used to work on multiple projects at once, but it got too hard and too confusing. I know I was crazy. So now I'm focusing on only one project. ;)

@Maria: Hi and thanks! I love notebooks, especially ones with pretty covers. I collect a few but I don't use them. Too pretty. Lol. I'm kinda weird that way. So when I found this template, I knew it was perfect. Glad you like it too. :)

Anita said...

I think one of the reason YA is hot is because we get to relive our teenage years vicariously from a safe distance. Plus, there aren't as many formulaic strictures in YA, which allows for more creative stories.

Speaking of creative, your excerpt ROX, lady. You are an incredible writer. Have I told you this?? Hee.

My fave line: "To stamp the color of hell inside my veins."

Just ... wow.

Nuff said.

Joyce Lansky said...

I like YA because I'm an impatient reader. YA tends to move faster than adult novels . . . or maybe I'm just immature. Thanks for stopping by my blog and following. I'm now following you too.


Wanton Redhead Writing said...

I read YA because it's quick. I think a lot of people are writing it because it's supposedly the guaranteed sell. I read so many different types of YA that I find I have particular authors that I enjoy and others that I find honestly, lazy.
That's my two cents anyway.
Glad to find your blog.

cherie said...

Anita, yes! Vicariously...I like that word. Thanks, btw. You always know how to make me feel validated with my writing. I thank you from the bottom of my heart, friend. ;) It means a lot to me.

Hi Joyce! Thanks for following my blog. We shall be blogging buddies from now on. I love meeting new people! There's always something new and interesting to learn from everyone. ;)

Hey there, Wanton Redhead. I read your blog and you have such a unique voice--love it! Thanks for following my blog. I look forward to getting to know more about you. ;)

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