“Have you read any James Joyce?” a boy in my class asks me. “You seem like someone who would like him.”
“Oh, I’ve been meaning to read him for a while! Maybe this summer when I have time, “ I reply.
No, I am not going to spend my summer cooped up in my room, deciphering Joyce’s streams of consciousness. I haven’t even been meaning to. This summer, I am going to curl up under a shady tree and read some Young Adult fiction. Something with some romance, some turmoil, but something that wraps itself up nicely in the end. Something with a hot bad-boy who ends up being not as “bad” as the narrator originally thought. And yes, I did just named the plot of at least 200 hundred different young adult novels.
I have tried to force myself to read big old classics in my free time. Jane Eyre is on a shelf somewhere in my room, barely bent, barely read. But at the end of the day, my so-called trashy novels are always there for some light relaxation and daydreaming.
That’s not to say that I don’t read respected or critically acclaimed books. I have read and loved classics such as the Great Gatsby, the Bell Jar, and more in my spare time. Sometimes, you feel like challenging yourself, or reading a book before the movie comes out, or familiarizing yourself with literature that seems to have huge cultural significance.
But other times, school is bringing you down. You’re reading The Scarlet Letter, or trying to. You have what seems like a million assignments due. And Jane Eyre doesn’t seem like the most appetizing dish on the menu, even though it is the healthiest. A new book from your favorite YA series just came out, and it would serve as the perfect distraction from your hectic life.
Go for it. Because honestly, reading a large-fonted, bestselling Young Adult romance is better than reading nothing. A librarian at my old school even encourages students to read these books because they cultivate a love of reading that can lead teens to read more challenging books in the future.
And above all else, so-called “trashy fiction” is enjoyable. And not in a drugged high type of way, which eventually leads to an addiction, or at the very least, a painful crash. Enjoyable in the lazy, beachy type of way. Sure, you might not be swimming miles in the ocean, but you are soaking up that Vitamin D on the shore.