Epic Book Giveaway and Why I Love YA

Hi guys! I'm taking a break from NaNoWriMo to bring to your attention a giveaway of massive proportions! My favorite YA sci-fi author, BETH REVIS, is giving away a library (read: 50!) SIGNED YA BOOKS to one lucky winner!

Yep, you heard that right!

Now, I'm never lucky when it comes to contests and giveaways, but maybe you are, and maybe you'll remember too that I told you about this if you win.  *wink, wink* *hint, hint* *coughshareyourwinningscough*

Click on graphic to enter!

Anyway, I'm supposed to write about the reasons why I love Young Adult books. Should be easy-peasy seeing as I write YA and I absolutely LOVE to READ YA books. You'd think I was deprived as a child and as a teen...wait a minute, I was! YA books were not prolific back then. (Yes, I'm older than you think. Heh.) As soon as I learned how to read (I was 5), I was hooked. A new world had opened itself to me, and I couldn't get enough of the fantastical adventures I was introduced to. Oh, the possibilities! The beauty of dreams and wishes! As a child, I was very shy so the idea of brave and noble characters appealed to me. I could be someone else while reading.

But we didn't have a library in our little town, and bookstores only existed in the big city back then. So I grabbed anything and everything that was considered reading material (good thing my parents liked to read so there were always magazines and books lying around the house): Reader's Digest magazines, encyclopedias, Popular Science books, a book of fairytales (this was read so many times that it had to be taped and glued together), and even my mom's stash of romance books (inappropriate for kids, I know, but I was desperate!).

Fast forward to my high school years where finally, and thankfully, I had access to a small library. Still no YA books, so I devoured classics, poetry, and adult fiction. I would have loved to get my hands on a Young Adult book back then. My teen years were some of my worst years, no exaggeration there. I was thirteen when I started high school. I lived in a dormitory for four years. It was my first time to live away from my family and I was terribly homesick--I cried into my pillow for many nights.

The first two years of high school, I felt like I didn't belong, and I could not find myself. I battled personal insecurities, mean roommates, and bullies. I believe I suffered from depression at some point, but of course, I didn't get any help for it. My parents only saw me during the weekends, and I remember my mother complaining about how difficult I had become. They didn't know me very well for I was never home, and I felt the disconnect in our relationship deeply. My grades suffered because I had a hard time concentrating. This was especially hard for someone who was top of her class throughout grade school.

Schoolwork was grueling, and so was the social pressure to be pretty, to be popular, to have nice clothes, and to have good grades. I was awkward, I wasn't pretty, and I had no fashion sense at all. We were assigned mentors during our freshman year. Mine was this gay kid (a junior) who spread lies behind my back. He called me a slut, and claimed that I was always flirting with the boys. Me, the shy girl who could barely form coherent sentences in front of a stranger, who never raised her hand to answer questions in class, and who didn't participate in the dormitory weekend activities because I went home to see my family. I mean, I didn't even spend time with him. No mentoring happened between us. We probably only spoke two sentences to each other, to introduce ourselves and that was it. He didn't know me. He was just a bully, and I was an easy target. To this day, I wish I had said something back to him. I was too afraid back then. I was drowning, and nobody knew it.

Another incident happened with one of my roommates. She was a sophomore, and generally avoided us dewy-eyed freshmen. One day, she and her friends cornered me and two other freshmen. She accused me of saying mean things about her and her friends. She said that one Saturday morning, she was half-awake in her bed when I came in with my other roommates, and she overheard me say that sophomores were stupid, etc. etc. Well, I told them it wasn't true. Besides, I was gone during the weekends so it couldn't have been me saying those things on a Saturday morning. They left me alone after that.

I buried my head in books. I spent most of my time in the library, sitting cross-legged on the floor, in an empty corner where no one could bother me. I think those were some of my happiest moments. The latter half of high school was a lot better. I found friends who accepted me for who I was. I was still awkward and unsure of myself, but at least the fog of darkness had lifted from my brain.

I love YA because it's a time of self-discovery, of coming into our own by ourselves. Despite numerous obstacles and heartaches, young adults are resilient and strong and wonderful. People, even my own family, didn't realize the internal struggles I went through at that time. On the outside, I was your average teenage girl. On the inside, I wanted to turn invisible and disappear. But in the end, I triumphed and I believe I became a better, stronger person for it. I was one of the lucky ones.


Amy Cavenaugh said...

Wow! That's a lot of books ;) And thank you for sharing your story. I'm very glad you didn't let the mistreatment defeat you. Unfortunately it's something many of us have to go through. Great blog!

Joyce Alton / @joycealton said...

Gotta love the whole "you did such and such" accusations with no proof to back them. Teen years, yep, better to read about them than live them.

Robin said...

So true. I think most teens live two separate lives. The one on the inside that nobody else sees and the one on the outside. I'm glad you made it through. Great post.

Jemi Fraser said...

That was pretty rough. High school can be so hard - can't even imagine having to live at the school as well. I was extremely shy too - especially in those first 2 years. Libraries are so important. I've taught a lot of kids over the years who've used the libraries as a safe haven. Not only could they escape to a safe place, but they discovered the wonders of the books. thanks so much for sharing your story!

Leigh Covington said...

OOH! This would be SO AWESOME to WIN! I would love it!

Angela V. Cook said...

Reading about your horrible experiences brought back memories of my own--except the worst years for me were during middle school *shudders*. Kids can be so cruel. I'm so sorry you had to go through that. :o( BUT, like the great Kelly Clarkston once said, "What doesn't kill us makes us stronger." (heh, then we should be able to bench press a semi ;)

Emily R. King said...

I agree that young adults are amazing. They have such capacity to be great people, but the cool thing is, they already are. :) Great getting to know you better, Precy!

LizzytheBrit said...

Such a great post. The only YA I had access to was the likes of Sweet Valley and Nancy Drew which hmm... well I won't go into those. I went through similar situations at school and some positive heroines in my literature would have been a huge help. But now as an adult not only am I discovering classics but loving the new books flooding the market. Thanks for sharing!

A. Lynden Rolland said...

Love this:
"I love YA because it's a time of self-discovery, of coming into our own by ourselves. Despite numerous obstacles and heartaches, young adults are resilient and strong and wonderful."
So painfully true. I loved hearing your story! Your experiences have made you beautiful, intelligent, and so talented. Although I didn't have to endure dorm life during my high school years (it probably would have killed me...) I was so shy and had a hard time figuring out who I was during my early HS years. But I do believe that those years make me a better writer. We can understand all spectrums of the teenage social pyramid which is powerful when writing about teens(and especially writing from their perspectives.)
Great post!

Simon Kewin said...

My high school career was pretty similar one way or another. Thank God for books.

Travesti Best said...

Thanks for writing for so long! Good luck with whatever lies ahead!

Cheryl said...

How horrible for you! YA really didn't much exist when I was growing up. We jumped from Nancy Drew to Agatha Christie with pretty much nothing in between.

Lynda R Young said...

YA is a relatively new and recent discovery for me too. I hope your NaNo went well.

Misha Gericke said...

Wow I seriously regret missing out on this competition. But I was NaNo'ing too hard, I guess.


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