My name is Robin Armstrong, and I’ve been an avid reader for just about all of my life. I cannot remember not being able to read. I quickly graduated from Dr. Seuss to Tolkien (read The Hobbit for the first time when I was eight), but didn’t find much to really enjoy until my teenage years, aside from The Prydain Chronicles by Lloyd Alexander or The Earthsea Trilogy by Ursula K. LeGuin (I don’t think I fully understood that last series at the time…). Being a teenager in the “pre-Harry Potter” era, I was left to move on to Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman, Piers Anthony, Isaac Asimov, and the like. YA (young adult) fiction didn’t really exist as a separate and solid genre back then, so finding something worthwhile and suited for my age was difficult.
Fast forward to my (adult life) college years. I’ve been interested in creative writing almost as long as I’ve been reading (that’s another post for another day), so naturally I studied English. Among my many classes were a few on YA and children’s literature. This opened me up to all kinds of books that I either didn’t have or wished I had known about as a teen. Thanks to Ms. Rowling, YA had by this time established itself at least as a section in the local bookstore, and libraries were quickly following suit.
Speaking of libraries, it was quite soon after my graduation that I somehow got a job as a YA librarian in Rexburg, Idaho. I quickly learned about the teen section and what does and does not belong there. I also got caught up in all the new books coming out for the YA audience (this time assisted by Stephanie Meyer and her hopeful imitators). I found myself reading more and more YA novels and less and less “adult” or general audience books.
So, today, I see that lots of people, especially teens and parents, are looking for young adult literature and what’s “good” out there. The Internet makes this especially easy, and certainly easier than when I was a teen, but there’s still plenty of room for more. Which leads to…
About This Site
The growing selection of YA literature makes for a wonderful place to find both treasure and dross. Publishers are scouring for the next Harry Potter or Twilight series, and readers are eager to find something more to read. However, without some kind of guidance, it’s easy to waste time on something that may be good, but not exactly your style.
Yes, there are book review sites out there. Authors blog about their own works, loyal fans gush about the latest book, and sites like Amazon have space for reviews of everything. Still, finding something worthwhile in all this requires more searching, more questions about the validity of the source, and so forth.
So I have decided to launch this site. I plan to write my honest review of the latest YA literature as well as hidden gems that may be under appreciated or even school required books that have or have not (or should not have) stood the test of time. I hope to add a rating system of some kind, so that parents and teens will know if, or how much, “questionable content” is in a given book. I’ll also look for suggestions from you, my readers, for books or authors to spotlight, and I hope to contribute to the YA community in general to help make it a little better for us all.