Years later, she’s got a degree in English literature, a few hundred more books under her belt, a wall full to bursting of every Norton Anthology she used in college, a job as a communications director, and a couple of kids who make reading fanfiction on her phone a lot easier to handle than the latest Barnes and Noble Classic that she picked up for $7.98 but can’t pick up with one hand. It’s 2009 and she falls in love with Twilight (the movie) and then Twilight (the books), and she realizes over the course of the next year that the only thing she wants to read is young adult novels.
Dear book club peeps, please to be stopping the reccing of YA books. I’m mortified in this section of B&N. Kthx, your resident lit snob
— Beth (@bethorne) June 4, 2010
Picture this young mother of two girls, carefully curating a personal library of sweet young adult romances and exciting young adult series that not only make her happy to read and re-read over the years, but also serve as heirlooms – precious hand-me-downs to her sweet girls who will one day fall in love with Jonah Griggs and Peeta Mellark and Sam Roth. Her bookshelves are a full and colorful trophy case of good literature: the classic, the genre and now … the young adult.
But she has a daughter who can’t get past the second chapter of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, who can’t empathize with the children in the Series of Unfortunate Events, who just wants to watch Matilda, not read it. This reader has birthed … a non-reader. All those colorful covers and lovingly selected series sit there on the shelf, unmoved, unread.
Enter: Stephanie Perkins
If you haven’t figured it out, this is my story. This year my oldest daughter turned 13 and made her entrance into that special group of teens who are perfectly placed in that season of their lives where they get to BE the audience for all our favorite young adult novels. THEY GET TO BE IT. That thing we were all realizing we were in 2009 when we picked up Hunger Games for the first time. They get to be obsessed with it all – the great main characters, the awesome places, the sweet romances, the swoony boys.
After years of trying to soft-shoe her into my favorites, for some reason, this year, it clicked. She read a few and seemed to like them, but she wasn’t obsessed with reading. But she WAS getting interested in boys, in lotions from Bath and Body Works and in the Stranger Things‘ fandom. I knew she was ready. So I gave her the ultimate in YA swoon and sweetness: Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins. She treated it like those few other young adult novels she’d read so far until I told her to read to at least chapter five before she put it down again.
She could not put it down. She couldn’t think about anything but St. Clair. She was texting me her askdjfhakljdfh at 1:00am.
— Beth (@bethorne) January 22, 2018
The very next day, she started Lola and the Boy Next Door. She read it in two days. She loved Isla and the Happily Ever After. And she since then, she’s been begging for more. She devoured the Unearthly series by Cynthia Hand, and she’s on her way to Jenny Han.
And it’s been BEAUTIFUL. She’s a reader! Y’all … she’s a bona fide FANGIRL READER. We giggle about Etienne and Tucker Avery and Cricket Bell. I can’t wait to introduce her to Josh Bennett and Finnikin and SO MANY MORE amazing boys in amazing books.
Readers, it gets better.