October is an exciting month for any YA lit fan, because it includes Teen Read Week! In honor of this annual celebration of young adult literature, YALSA invited book-loving teens all over the world to apply to share their enthusiasm for reading in a guest post for The Hub. Thirty-one talented young writers were chosen, and we’ll be featuring posts from these unique voices all month long. Here’s Morgan Delaney from California.
The mind has to be the most perplexing and magical thing about the human body.
Because no matter how hard you attempt to explain the crazy, beautiful pictures you paint within the realm of your thoughts, no one will ever be able to see them. No one, but you. No one can see the detail, the exact colors, the movements, the sounds, and the vivid and animated life of your thoughts because no one has your exact imagination. It is crazy and strange, but amazing. Because it is entirely and completely your own.
It is even crazier how reading can expand your own thoughts, your imagination, to places you didn’t even know you could create. Beautiful and colorful places that only you get the privilege to see.
It’s sort of like magic.
And it is so unfortunate that so many teenagers are depriving themselves of the beauty of books. I didn’t realize what huge of an epidemic it was that teenagers didn’t read until I went out and asked teenagers the simple question: Do you like to read?
I received answers from, â€œNo, it isn’t entertaining,â€ to, â€œNo, it isn’t very detailed.â€
I was baffled and incredibly disappointed that kids were judging books based on what they assumed reading was like.
It was sad, and truthfully, there was only one thing that stopped me from losing complete hope in proving to the world how wonderful reading actually is.
That was the small group of teenagers that told me they loved to read.
When they responded, â€œYes,â€ to my question, I pushed further, and asked them why. Why did they love to read when so many kids didn’t?
And each answer to that question was like another piece to the puzzle. I began to see the pattern.
And it was strange, because every answer to that question was relatively similar to what my answer would be.
I realized that teenagers that love to read, love to read because books allow them to understand that even though we are all so different, we all go through so many of the same things.
That people constantly fight the same battles I do.
That I am not alone.
Books like The Outsiders, by S.E. Hinton, or Speak, by Laurie Halse Anderson, or Impulse, by Ellen Hopkins, or Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher.
Books like these helped me develop my love for reading because they grasp the raw truth of being a teenager. They don’t create the ideal teenage life full of parties and great relationships and a perfect balance between drama and happiness.
These books uncover the truth that life is full of wrong turns that eventually lead you the right way.
That life can be really hard. Scarily and frighteningly hard, but you can survive.
Books like these that make you realize that this is just the beginning of a crazy but so incredibly beautiful life.
The most amazing things about these books is that the world they help you create is entirely your own. You decide what it looks like.
Because there are no limits to what you can create in your mind.
A movie shows you what to feel, shows you what to see, shows you what it is.
But with a book, you feel whatever you want to feel, you see whatever you want to see, you can make it whatever you feel it should be.
Because when you read, it’s your story.
It’s sort of like magic.
~ Morgan Delaney is a writer, music maker, and a lover of science and politics. I believe that books are the key to the lock of everlasting knowledge, so read on!