When I was somewhere around the age of thirteen, I went into my local Dymocks and bought the first book in Cassandra Clare’s The Mortal Instruments series. It was sitting in a 3 for the price of 2 sale, and my friend pointed it out and started raving about how good it was. I shrugged and thought, “why not?” Well, what a mistake that was because I slid down into a large obsession with young adult fiction, which has never ended. Now, I am forever in debt to my best friend for introducing me to something so great.
City of Bones was my first young adult novel. It introduced me to a world full of demons, and vampires, and these people called Shadowhunters. I thought it was fantastic. I was experiencing a whole new world, one that I couldn’t contain my excitement for, and one I could definitely not hide my undying love for. Let’s just say, I’m a little obsessed with Shadowhunters now. I have the phone cases and many copies of the first book to prove it.
While I may not be considered a “young adult” still for this genre of fiction, I still can’t help but reach for YA whenever I am in the mood to read. Adult fiction never soothes my reading craving.
As much as they are clichés, I love the sayings of readers living more lives than one and escaping our world to live in another for a while. Sitting down with a young adult novel, then and now, was always that experience. After Shadowhunters, I found myself falling into worlds of fey with Julie Kagawa, and broken societies with the Divergent and The Hunger Games series. It was always so easy to go to bed after finishing a chapter and dream of myself as the main character, never leaving the world even though I had closed the pages.
Once upon a time I had steered away from books that were written by Australian authors or books that were just set in Australia. For some reason, I had the opinion that they were not going to be as interesting as the international books. Then I started to read a couple and I realised how silly those thoughts were. When I started reading more Australian authors, I found I really loved Australian YA.
What I love the most about #LoveOzYA is the community the readers and writers have built in Australia. I fell into the world of Twitter years ago and found there was a massive book community sharing their love of books. And then not too long after, I found this fantastic blogging group on Facebook which introduced me to so many great people I now call friends, and also led me down the path to Brisbane Writers Festival.
In 2015, I met my book rockstar author, Cassandra Clare. I was so excited I don’t think I managed to spit out a single word to her. I could only stand and stare in awe, and that night I went home as happy as a kid on Christmas morning when they have unwrapped the remote car they had begged their parents for.
Since then, I’ve been to so many of the festivals. I’ve been so lucky to meet so many great people, and authors, particularly Australian writers, such as Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman, Cally Black, and Alison Goodman.
Each year, Love YA gives us a great selection of Australian authors to meet and greet, and this year is no different. I am so excited for this year’s line-up. This year goes right down to Australia’s YA roots, delivering only some of the best YA authors we have. I have had a fantastic time collab-ing with BWF to learn more of what goes on behind Love YA, and I can’t wait to see all of it on the big stage. I am extremely excited to meet some of our Aussies, such as Jenna Guillaume, A.J. Betts, and James Moloney. But what I am more eager for is the chance to sit on a panel and ask the big questions to superstars, Will Kostakis and Lynette Noni.
The start of September is really going to be the best time, and Love YA is going to be the best part of the year! So, why not join us for some fun and meet some of Australia’s gold treasures?
By Maddie McGregor, Love YA Ambassador. Check out Maddie'sblog!