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I’ve been reading a lot of YA books over the last several weeks (thanks for all the recommendations!) and I think I’ve made two discoveries:

1. My book is not YA.

2. I cannot write YA.

This is probably both a blessing and a curse. A blessing because, let’s be honest, most of the true “YA” stuff is kind of crappy. And some of it is really crappy. I don’t mean it’s not entertaining. It’s all entertaining. But it’s not very good. So if my books are destined to be closer to literary fiction, that’s probably better in the long run. That’s probably better for my soul.

But I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. I want to make a living. I want to write books that get published and that people read. YA is the hot ticket right now. That’s what everyone wants to publish and that’s what everyone wants to read. If I can’t do it, I’m at a serious disadvantage. It’s a curse. But there you have it. Sigh.

I recently finished a book called Divergent that I think is the epitome of what I can’t do. It’s very entertaining, no doubt. And full of action. But the whole time I was picking out holes in the world and in the story and wishing it would go a little deeper. It’s a highly successful YA book and I could never write like that.

I also read The Giver. Much better. But so simple. Clearly written for children. I love the concept and the set-up and right as I was really getting into it . . . it ended. I wanted so much more from it. But, I suppose, if it had so much more, it wouldn’t be for children anymore. It wouldn’t be YA.

And then. Never Let Me Go. Beautiful and heartbreaking. Dystopian, to a certain extent, but character-driven, not plot-driven. It goes very deep. And it’s not YA. And let’s be honest, I’m not really sure I could write anything like this, either. But at least now I know what I’m aiming for. Not YA.

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