By Stephanie Romero
RT Book Reviews magazine (RT) did an interview with the lovely Gayle Forman to speak about her duologies and upcoming work. Interviewer Morgan Doremus talked about Just One Day and Just One Year, and If I Stay and Where She Went (If I Stay was made into a movie in 2014 starring Chloë Grace Moretz). Doremus talked about characters and the adventures they experience, and Forman stressed the importance that her books are not one dimensional, rather they have more than one love story involved like falling in love with another a person, self-love, familial love, and things like that.
Forman touched on something that I feel is so important today. When it comes to Young Adult literature, people are less likely to appreciate the genre than, say, British Romanticism or Creative Non-Fiction. Even I used to refrain from expressing my preference of the YA genre. But I discovered a great YA community and my fellow Sculpt editors. I’m convinced that YA literature can be relevant to everyone. Forman had this to say about the worldwide relevance of a theme in Just One Day when addressing the character Allison, “I think we’ve all had a time in our lives where we’ve looked in the mirror–looked at our lives–and said ‘This isn’t the person I want to be.’ and ‘How do I become that person?’”
The struggle to answer that question is one I’ve asked myself on a number of occasions. At some point, most of us get asked:
“What do you want to be when you grow up?”
“What are you going to do when you graduate high school?”
“What are you going to do when you finish college?”
“When are you going to start a family?”
And so goes on the list of things we’re expected to do and do on everyone else’s schedule. What I love about young adult novels is that it’s okay if characters’ directions are imperfect, because we are all imperfect. No matter how old we get, we’re always trying to live up to our own or other’s expectations. YA novels remind us that, in the process, it’s okay to have mistakes and fail.