Wendi Hansen
June 20, 2015 6:30 am

I’d like to think of myself as an equal opportunity reader. You’ve got your classics, your mysteries, and even the occasional non-fiction page-turner. I love (and will devour) them all. But my favorite genre of books—my go-to when I’m looking for something to make me think all the thinks and feel all the feels— is Young Adult, better known as YA.

As a 28-year old woman, you may wonder why my favorite books are those aimed for my much younger counterparts. The answer is simple: They’re awesome. Age or genre aside, a good story is a good story. When I read YA books, I feel connected in a way to the person I was, and who I’m still becoming. If you haven’t yet dipped your toes in the YA waters, here are some quotes from some of my favorite YA novels to prove that they’re not just for young adults.

 “The way I figure it, everyone gets a miracle.”Paper Towns by John Green

Life can be hard. It can be so hard. But if we are given something to hope for, something to believe in, it makes it so much easier to find the strength to keep going. It’s comforting to think that all of us at some point will be given a miracle, a chance to start over, make a dream come true, learn, discover and grow. That’s why this quote resonated with me, and why Paper Towns was such a great read.

“So, I guess we are who we are for alot of reasons. And maybe we’ll never know most of them. But even if we don’t have the power to choose where we come from, we can still choose where we go from there. We can still do things. And we can try to feel okay about them.”  The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

We can’t change the past, as much as we’d like to sometimes. We all have things we’ve struggled through, baggage in all shapes and sizes, but the truth is that those are the things that have made us who we are. We may not be able to change who we were or the things that we did or didn’t do, but we definitely have the power to shape who we become. And that is pretty incredible.

“She never looked nice. She looked like art, and art wasn’t supposed to look nice; it was supposed to make you feel something.” Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

Often times as adults, we form opinions about someone or something prematurely, all because we fail to look past what’s on the surface. If you’re only taking in what you can physically see, you’re missing out on what could be an amazing complete package. Take time to peel back the layers.

“When people don’t express themselves, they die one piece at a time. You’d be shocked at how many adults are really dead inside—walking through their days with no idea who they are, just waiting for a heart attack or cancer or a Mack truck to come along and finish the job. It’s the saddest thing I know.” Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson

Creativity is one of the greatest sparks of life. In can come in many forms: the clothes we wear, the music we listen to, or the way we dance in our kitchen while washing the dishes. If we are afraid to be who we really are, scared to take chances and make mistake, to go after what we really want to do or who we want to be, we will wake up one day regretting the opportunities we took for granted.

“Hope is the only thing stronger than fear.”   —The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

As we saw in The Hunger Games, if we have hope, we have the power to get through even the most difficult of times. Fear can be a very convincing thing, but it’s hope that will keep us fighting.

“Dreams are only dreams until you wake up and make them real.” It’s Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini

Everyone should have a dream. Dream hard. Dream far. Dreams are what keep us moving forward, but the only way that we will ever be able to reach those dreams is to put forth the effort, the time and the hard work into making them a reality. As much as we would like a genie with three wishes or to rely on sheer luck, it’s up to us to “wake up and make them real.”

“I am coming to terms with the fact that loving someone requires a leap of faith, and that a soft landing is never guaranteed.” This Lullaby by Sarah Dessen

One thing I have learned in my adult life so far is that love is scary. It’s terrifying, actually. Putting yourself out there, opening up your heart in hopes that it won’t get broken–but knowing that the possibility of that happening is very real. It’s a gamble. But it’s a gamble worth taking. Once you have it, feel it, you instantly forget all of those landings that were a little more than rough. Sometimes you just have to take that leap of faith, close your eyes and jump.

“You don’t know what goes on in anyone’s life but your own. And when you mess with one part of a person’s life, you’re not messing with just that part. Unfortunately, you can’t be that precise and selective. When you mess with one part of a person’s life, you’re messing with their entire life. Everything. . . affects everything.” Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

It’s easy to judge someone from the outside sitting in, to make assumptions based on what we hear from outside sources, or from the little that we see. We may think we know the how’s or why’s behind the way someone acts, looks or thinks, but do we really? Everyone is fighting their own battle and the best that we can do is to be there, to offer a shoulder to cry on, an ear to listen and support when necessary.

One swing set, well worn but structurally sound, seeks new home. Make memories with your kid or kids so that someday he or she or they will look into the backyard and feel the ache of sentimentality as desperately as I did this afternoon. It’s all fragile and fleeting, dear reader, but with this swing set, your child(ren) will be introduced to the ups and downs of human life gently and safely, and may also learn the most important lesson of all: No matter how hard you kick, no matter how high you get, you can’t go all the way around.” The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

Perfection is unobtainable. We all know that, but we still want it. As a reformed perfectionist (still working on it), I’ve come to learn that there will be things in life that I am horrible at, no matter how hard I try. There will be people who will just not like me for whatever reason. You can swing and swing and swing but no matter how hard your pump your legs or how high you get, you will not quite make it all the way around. But that’s okay. Swing sets weren’t meant for that purpose. And neither were you. But that doesn’t mean that you should ever, ever stop swinging.

“Words are, in my not-so-humble opinion, the most inexhaustible form of magic we have, capable of both inflicting injury and remedying it.”  Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling

Words have the power to heal, to protect, to guide and to inspire. They also can be extremely hurtful, can inflict pain and even fear. We say things with an intent, good or bad, whether consciously or not. The thing about words is once they escape our mouths, we can never take them back. We should recognize that our voices have influence, that we can move mountains and spur great change, but we should also be aware of the things we say.

So pick up a book and get reading. Young Adult is actually for all adults, no matter what age.

Related Stories:

Why I Love YA: In Defense of Young Adult Literature
YA books we can’t wait to read this summer

[Image via Shutterstock]

Advertisement