Discussion: Taking a YA Literature Class As a Book Blogger

Discussion

I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned this a few times on this blog, but I’m currently a college student majoring in AYA Language Arts – which is a fancy way of saying I’m learning how to be a high school English teacher. This week is my first week back at school for my junior year, and one of my new classes is all about young adult literature, which makes me laugh a bit.

Yesterday was my first class, and I didn’t really know what to expect. I had seen some older students who took the class and apparently had to read many different YA books, but I didn’t know much else. The class was a bit up and down for me, so I thought it would be interesting to look at it in a discussion (and I don’t feel like writing a review right now)!

I was initially really excited because one of the things we have to do for this class is read different kinds of YA books. Our first assignment is to pick a YA romance book. We don’t have a set list to choose from and there are only a few requirements (like nothing older than 5 years old or anything really big right now, like The Fault in Our Stars – not that I was planning on reading it anyway), so I’m excited by the fact that I can read (or reread – I think, that’s actually something I need to double check) books I love and just talk about them for homework.

But a class like this also means discussion, and it’s discussions run by people who are not YA book bloggers. There are some students who said they read YA a lot as well, but the more vocal ones seemed a little dismissive of the whole category, like the deep and important and moving books were the exception and quite rare. The professor loved talking about how much people look down on and underestimate YA, but it sounded like she could sometimes do the same.

Book reviews even got brought up briefly, although not book blogging – unfortunately, it wasn’t a positive mention. My professor told us to stay away from social media sites like Goodreads when trying to decide what to read because there are some reviewers who get paid to write gushing reviews. Sure, there really are people like that, but I just wanted to get up and shout something like “there are so many amazing book reviewers – just check out the blogosphere!”

So, I’m a little unsure how this class is going to go. It’s early yet, and I might be pleasantly surprised and find plenty of other YA lovers who I can bond with in real life. While I try to find a YA romance book for my class, though, I want to know what you think about a YA literature class – have you ever taken one? And what should I do if YA continuously seems to be underestimated by the future high school and middle school teachers in my class?

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10 thoughts on “Discussion: Taking a YA Literature Class As a Book Blogger

  1. My university never offered a YA English class, and while I always wished they had I’m wondering if maybe it was a good thing they didn’t because I know a LOT of English majors who looked down on the whole genre, and they weren’t books I could really be upfront at first about how passionate I am about them. I finally choose to do my senior thesis on Harry Potter (and my professor was great and really open to me using middle grade/YA) but unfortuantely it’s not something I was able to really focus on for most of my English program.

    1. I feel like it’s worse because it doesn’t seem like my professor and classmates are intentionally looking down on YA, but they way they talk about the deeper, interesting books that can be found in YA makes it sound like they’re a bit surprised that YA is capable of producing books like that, which almost makes it worse than them being downright dismissive. That’s awesome about your senior thesis! I did a high school senior year poetry project all about Dr. Seuss – he’s not a YA author, of course, but it reminds me of that since I was a bit worried that my teacher and friends would be a bit dismissive, although they really were pretty great – of course, who doesn’t love Dr. Seuss?

  2. I think it’s really cool that they have YA lit classes! I can see how it could be problematic, though. I think I would get really frustrated with people who looked down on YA- especially if it was the teacher! Good luck with the class! 🙂

    1. I think it’s a requirement for all students who are trying to become English high and middle school teachers, but I’m not sure. It’s really frustrating because my professor really does seem to enjoy YA and has read a lot of it, but it sounds like she still thinks of books like Twilight as the norm in YA and she’s just been lucky with finding different ones. Of course, it’s early in the semester, so that could change for the better! And thank you, I hope I end up enjoying it after all!

  3. I can only dream of ever taking a YA lit class as a Belgian resident. We don’t have classes like that. Although I do enjoy a lot of YA books, it is a genre that is often looked down upon, so it’s a bit tricky to teach a class about that. And if your teacher things Twilight is the norm for YA, perhaps you could teach her a thing or two :o)

    Also, “stay away from Goodreads”? I would’ve protested so hard, haha.

    1. I definitely hope to do that! The other day we were talking about books that deal with “serious” things and I was going to bring up Hate List by Jennifer Brown which is about a school shooting, but we moved on before I was able to do that.

      I couldn’t see myself, but I had a feeling that I did NOT have a happy expression on my face as she said that, but I’m trying not to make too many waves right now!

  4. I think it’s sad, yet a good thing to be taking this class with people who look down on YA because this way, you’ll be exposed to the negative views. Knowing these could be very helpful in future when you get to teach students and somehow have to involve books in the curriculum. I guess on your part, you could try to highlight more under-rated YA books that break their stereotypes while demonstrating the breadth of YA? It’s worth a shot…

    1. I think it’s really interesting because they aren’t downright negative, but maybe even unknowingly dismissive, and there are probably so many people like that who you’ll meet in your life and are so much harder to deal with than people you outright disagree with.

      I definitely hope to do that! I’ll try to pick some books that are popular in the blogging community but not so much outside it and will hopefully be able to start some interesting discussions about it.

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