Author Archives: Kat Gigliuk

Young Adult Fiction

**I realize this particular topic has little to do with the program itself, it is something that sparks my interest**

I’ve always had a love hate relationship with the novel genre considered “YA” or “Young Adult.” It seems that there is a certain stigma against those who are over the age of 17 and still read novels from the teen section at Indigo. I find that such novels find their designations not due to their writing or story (which can face mature themes and spark important conversations) but instead the degree of optimism found within. The novels of the intermediate period, between teen and adult, seem to hold an overwhelming sense of doubt that only intensifies in novels intended for adult readers. For example, the characters, story, and overall theme of The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt seems to call upon the doubt in a person. The main protagonist, Theo Decker, seems to never catch a break. His life is just a series of losses (the loss of his mother, his home, his friends, his father) and reading it becomes a chore when the character only serves to suffer. Though there is a moral, it is not concrete or even particularly important to the story, Tartt appears to relish in the pain and hardship that Theo is put through. He goes from a messed up kid to an even more messed up adult, all the while losing loved ones like buttons off a cheap jacket. Though brilliantly written and captivating in its sadness, the novel carries with it a feeling of loss, and self-doubt. There is no happy ending, no light at the end of the excessively long tunnel. I understand the draw to more mature themes, more mature stories and the ideas encapsulated therein can be fascinating and act as an exceptionally interesting window into human nature but one cannot survive on strife and analysis alone.

For this reason, I have recently found myself drifting back to YA novels due to their exact “contraryness” to this drab overarching theme. The feeling of hope one can derive from simply reading a YA novel is not to be misplaced. Analytics and analysis are all well and good, but I dearly miss the days when a story could be just that, a story. Many of the novels and plays we have read this year have practical applications, ways in which the reader could find hidden or buried meaning in the words, and as interesting as I find that, I feel there is a magic lost. It seems to me that there can be no uncomplicated understanding, no easy way to read these novels through the eyes of a mature reader. This is the reason I have harkened back to the novels of youth, those with explicit morals and easy characters. They provide no challenge in understanding and usually end with what is considered a happy (or at the very least, happier) ending. Overall, I can appreciate the complex narratives and mature themes found in novel suited for older readers, but I simply can’t do without a significant dose of hope once and a while. Can you?

P.S: A novel series I would suggest if you’re into YA fantasy with more mature themes is the Abarat series by Clive Barker. The illustrations are divine and the story itself, engaging and fascinating.


Filed under Uncategorized