So a lot of you have probably seen the ranting on Twitter or in a blog post about a WSJ article that basically states that all YA is deep, dark, and trashy. I wasn't going to say anything, but after reading so many people's stories I just had to share mine and how YA helped me through one of the hardest parts of my life.
At the start of 7th grade I moved from a small town in California all the way out to Glendale, Arizona. Everyone knows that 7th grade is just about THE WORST time to have to move. Its that awkward stage between childhood and becoming a teen. No one is comfortable with themselves and people just aren't open to creating new friendships. Not only that but I was homeschooled so my only outlet for meeting new people was my church youth group. At my youth group I was the odd one out. I was not only the new kid, but I was also a "weird homeschooler" and the only person who wasn't completely European. Basically I stood out like a sore thumb and no one, I mean NO ONE wanted to associate themselves with me. I was miserable and insecure, and totally depressed.
Then during the summer between 8th grade and Freshman year I read Sarah Dessen's book Keeping the Moon.
I LOVE this book. It helped me so much because it validated what I was feeling but at the same time it told me that it doesn't matter what others think of me because, I am beautiful, and wonderful, and amazing. This book taught me to ignore the naysayers, and remember the truth. I still have the notebook where I wrote down quotes from this book that I would read for encouragement.
I'd always been an avid reader, but Keeping the Moon was one of the first real YA books that I read. Afterwards I was totally drawn to the genre because it spoke to me. It helped me. It understood me. And it taught me things that I could have never learned otherwise. The people at WSJ may think that YA is only good for drawing people towards darkness, but I can honestly say that YA helped draw me towards the light.