Monday 16 April 2012

Guest Post: Annie Oldham

Today we welcome Annie Oldham to my blog. She is the author of new story 'Bound'

After her mother dies, Elowyn Challis would do anything to bury the pain, but being shipped off to boarding school isn't what she had in mind. Things could be worse. Wyn finds a place for herself in the academy and living in the capital is just sparkling. But under it all, her mother's death still haunts her. Then Wyn discovers a secret that changes everything she believes: the bedtime stories her mother told her as a child are real, the faerie realm exists, and she is the Binderthe one mortal on earth with the power to seal the gate to Fae. It's a power Wyn's not sure she wants or can even wield. But she must confront her nightmares and her grief, or two worlds will be torn apart. 

Away from her writing, Annie is the mother of the two most adorable girls in the world, has the best husband in the world, and lives in the hottest place in the world (not really, but Phoenix sure feels like it). She loves to cook, sing, and play the piano.

Here is Annie's Post:

There's been a bit of debate flying around the social media sphere for the past couple weeks about the importance of YA literature. One of the biggest sources fueling the fire was this editorial by New York Times columnist Joel Stein. Read it if you'd like. If you're a fan of YA literature (or even if you're not well-versed in your Hunger Games, Harry Potter, Lauren Oliver, etc., but can still appreciate the genre), you might want to skip it. It'll just make you angry, and the world needs fewer angry people.

I'm not going to touch on the editorial. I could bash the arguments of the article all day long. Instead, I want to focus on why YA lit is important. We've either all been through that stage of life, or we're going through it now. No one is immune to being a teenager. Those are awkward, acne-filled, glorious days that I would never want to revisit. But would I ever wish them away for anything? Not a chance. Those few years of my life helped determine who I am today. They don't shame me; they define me.

YA literature can be a way for teenagers to help navigate the murky waters of adolescence, a way for them to say either, “Hey, I'm normal!” or “At least someone else has it worse than I do.” And this genre is endlessly entertaining for someone who's already been there (me).

To negate the importance of YA literature is to negate the importance of the teen experience. But the situations these characters face mirror the challenges adults face in our world as well. Bitter high-school rivalries and gossip? What do you think happens within office politics every day? (And the water cooler is just an extension of all the girls going to the bathroom in packs.) Paranormal romance where the freak is actually dreamy once you get past the fangs or the shapeshifting or the wrong species thing? What teenager hasn't felt the need to be the most desirable person in the crowd in spite of their insecurities? For that matter, what adult hasn't felt it too?

And anyone who argues that YA lit is merely fluff must have forgotten that such classics as The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, To Kill a Mockingbird, The Lord of the Flies, David Copperfield, and Treasure Island (to name a few), are YA literature. YA literature is able to both entertain and enlighten.

For me, saying YA lit isn't worth anyone's time is saying that neither are the teenagers. If we can't reach back and embrace our adolescence, then how will we find value from books written for the adult lives  we're living now?

Thanks for stopping by Annie. :D


Annie Oldham said...

Thanks for having me, Becky :)

barmybex said...

You're welcome, thanks for coming. :D