I don't know why it took me so long. Growing up, it felt like I skipped from The Baby-sitters Club to Margaret Atwood (with a summer or two of Sunset Island and Who Killed Peggy Sue somewhere in there). It was the 90s, or what I like to think of as "the black hole of YA" years -- I'm sure there were great YA titles out there, I just didn't know about them. And I was way too interested in escaping my high school (which wasn't bad, just a bit stifling and predictable) to read fiction about other high schools.
Enter my late 20s, when I left a finance/editorial firm and joined the world of children's publishing. I remember looking at the bookshelf in my office and seeing all the incredible YA titles up there and thinking, where have I been?
I had a lot of catching up to do. I read it all -- from middle grade to YA, from contemporary to paranormal. And then I thought, as I struggled over my chick-lit manuscript, why wasn't I writing YA?
The heavens opened. (It may have been my ceiling light flickering.) The earth shook. (The R train runs right under me.) I became a YA addict.
So, this all relates to Teen Read Week, of course, because what I primarily read these days is teen lit (including many of the titles that made this year's top 10!). (Last week I was speaking on a panel at Random House and realized I was incredibly out of place. There's so much amazing adult fiction out there, and I'm barely reading any of it!) And I am unabashedly unashamed.