The Serious Student Meets Fluffy YA Lit
You love books, and you happily admit to lusting over the hardbacks in Waterstones, as you drag your reluctant friends behind you. There’s no shame in being a total nerd anymore, ever since superheroes and graphic tees suddenly bounced into the sphere of the ironic cool.
And yet, there you are, on the bus, or train, or in class, bending the spine of your latest read to the extent that no one else can see the cover: a cheery, fluffy YA novel, with loopy, sparkly calligraphy to boot. You love it, can’t put it down – this book is as light and addictive as cotton candy, but you can’t let anyone else know. Heaven forbid the stranger sat next to you should glance over and realise you aren’t getting stuck into James Joyce or Dickens, or whatever else might impress them.
Because if you love literature, surely you must love the classics. If not, you’re ignorant and immature, just as shallow as every other mobile-phone toting, Starbucks Instagram-ing teenager out there – right?
Eh, I hope not.
I have spent too long angling book covers just so in an attempt to disguise what they are, keeping quiet about my latest obsession because – shocker – they weren’t listed amongst the Penguin Classics, and I’m done with feeling embarrassed for liking fluffy YA.
No, The Princess Diaries is not classed as sophisticated and enduring as Austen, and Kiera Cass’s The Selection series isn’t going to impress many of my university tutors, but I like them. Undemanding and amusing, frivolous and fanciful, full of ridiculous and outlandish situations, as well as dreamy romantics, they are the warm duvet of the literature world. When I finally sit down after a long day of dealing with real-life dramas andmaking hard decisions, you'll forgive me if I'm not in the mood for eighteenth-century language or tragic plotlines. I want my warm cup of tea, a bar of Dairy Milk chocolate, and a book that promises to make me giggle and swoon.
While these kinds of dizzy books are not for everyone, nothing should compromise your ability to enjoy them. And if that means proudly displaying your copy of Anna and the French Kiss on your next bus journey, or chatting about how much you are loving Sarah Mlynowski’s Ten Things We Did (And Probably Shouldn’t Have) to whoever may ask you about your latest read, then do it. Forget everyone who raises an eyebrow at your choice of literature, or smirks at the triviality of such books, because they’re the exact same people who can’t enjoy dancing around to the latest cheesy number one hit, or getting sucked into a gripping, over-the-top TV show.