March is one of my favorite months of the year. It’s because March is reading month. I remember all throughout my elementary and high school years, my school would always set up reading challenges—prizes for people who read the most books or gift cards for anyone who was “caught reading” in the hallways between classes.
Now that I’m in college, there aren’t many reading month activities, so I am setting up my own. If you’re not a regular reader, I challenge you to read one book this month. It can be long or short, it doesn’t matter.
If reading one book this month is easy, I challenge you to read something you normally wouldn’t. In particular, I challenge you to pick up a young adult book—you might be surprised by what you find.
Young adult has a wide range of genres within a genre. There’s realistic fiction, fantasy, dystopian, historical fiction, romance, sci-fi, and so many others in the YA category. Sometimes the different genres are rolled together in a novel and each unique element works to tell the story.
If you’ve read a lot of realistic fiction, try fantasy or dystopian. Many of the stories take characters and throw them into new worlds with new rules. Fantasy novels often use magic and fantastical creatures as an element of storytelling. Need a suggestion? Try Eragon, a story about dragons, by Christopher Paolini. Or Never Let Me Go, a suspenseful dystopian, by Kazuo Ishiguro.
If fantasy or dystopian isn’t your thing, try sci-fi or historical fiction. These two genres often take place in the real-world, but also have elements that are futuristic or historical. Young adult sci-fi can be a better read than adult sci-fi, not because of its simplicity, but because of its accessibility. Need a suggestion? Try Time Between Us, a time-travel story that uses both sci-fi and history, by Tamara Ireland Stone. Or American Blonde, a historical mystery about the Golden Age of Hollywood, by Jennifer Niven.
If you don’t usually read realistic fiction, try it. Realistic may sound boring, but in YA, it means getting to explore someone else’s life that may be similar to your own. A lot of YA protagonists suffer from heightened real world problems and it can be refreshing, yet emotional, to read. Need a suggestion? Try The Perks of Being a Wallflower, a coming of age story, by Stephen Chbosky. Or Before I Fall, a though provoking heart-breaker, by Lauren Oliver.
Reading something new this month can be fun if you put the effort in to take a moment and pick up a book. And if you don’t end up liking what you picked, you can always try a new one and dive into a new adventure.