Reading for a Reason

Hello? Anyone out there? I've been stuck at home most of the week tending to a sick kid. No writing has been done and I had to miss my classes since I couldn't very well drag him along with me. On the plus side, I have gotten some reading done. I've delved into the world of YA and I can tell you right now, there is some horrendous crap out there. I'm not sure if I should name the one book that has me pulling out my highlighter to mark every mention of a name brand (way out of reach for teenagers and many adults, too) or all the abbreviated slang that almost constitutes a new form of English. At least I think it's English.

I'm fascinated and horrified by this book at the same time. As I am with shows like The Hills and Gossip Girls, both which I have avoided watching because part of me just doesn't want to to know. From the bits I have caught, I can tell they're a world away from the halls of DeGrassi Junior High and The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole and The Growing Pains of Adrian Mole which were my and my sister's version of after-school soaps...but on PBS which was our version of cable..sorry, satellite. Streaming? Whatever, it's what we watched and was on par with what we were reading.

I'm not sure what's going on (sort of like when I was a teenager). I read tons of YA as a young adult and I don't recall it being so materialistic and vacuous. Of course, I was reading stuff like The Pig Man and Then Again Maybe I Won't. I realize, and admit, kids today aren't socialized the same way I was back in the dark ages when a pair of stonewashed Guess jeans and white Reeboks with clashing colored laces were the height of fashion. Yeah, sure, we worried about what we wore, but never once did I ever think that it was normal to wear things a 35-year-old professional woman would buy.

As I approach my own YA project, I'll keep in mind that the world is very different for a teenage girl. Nowadays, she's bombarded from every angle with messages about what she should look like, aspire to be and how she should go about achieving it. Still, part of me hopes that teens haven't changed that much and stuff that mattered to me still matters to them. Except now they can text about it to each other in a whole other language.

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