When I was younger, I read a mixture of Middle Grade and Adult books. The Middle Grade books I checked out of my elementary school's library and the Adult books I stole from my mother's library. So...yeah, let's just say little kid me read some stuff she shouldn't have. My favorites were the Maximum Ride Series* by James Patterson, the Underland Chronicles by Suzanne Collins, When the Wind Blows by James Patterson, The Tenth Kingdom by Kathryn Wesley (when I discovered this was actually a mini TV series, I spent an entire day watching it on You Tube), Suzanne's Diary for Nicholas by James Patterson, Ida B by Katherine Hannigan, From the Files of Madison Finn by Laura Dower, and Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine.*
I also used to write back then. Granted, I didn't know anything about writing. I basically took ideas from a bunch of books I read and mushed them all together in a 5th grader's handwritten (unfinished) novel. The story was all over the place. It featured a main character only slightly older than I was, side characters based on people I knew, an adult theme of murder and mystery, and a touch of magic here and there. It was a train wreck of genres.
And then: Twilight. In 6th grade, my teacher lent me the book that changed my reading interests forever. It introduced me to YA, the genre I'd been looking for. It wasn't too adult for me to comprehend, and it wasn't too juvenile for me to wrinkle my nose at. It was beautiful. It is beautiful. Reading transformed from a hobby to an addiction. I started writing again, this time with the knowledge of what a specific genre included and with the absolute freedom that comes with YA.
It's hard for me to express in words how much I love Young Adult. Some emotions just can't be described accurately. I will say that I doubt I'll ever grow out of YA. It's perfect. It's growing up without actually having to grow up. I am forever Young Adult.
*I know that Maximum Ride is technically classified as YA, but I consider it aimed for a younger audience than most YA's.
*I'd add Harry Potter, but I actually didn't read the entire series until last year. I started reading it in 3rd grade (mostly because the librarian kept the big books off limits to most kids and I wanted to rub it in her face that I could read them, and it was worth A LOT of A.R. points) and I got the first two for Christmas, but then I had trouble getting the rest of them and I lost interest in checking books out of the library (I like to buy my books and collect them like trophies)...and I just stopped reading them. Which sucks.
This graphic has me drooling.