Thursday, July 27, 2017

author guest post: amy s. foster

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Many thanks to Amy S. Foster, the author of The Rift Rising trilogy, for sharing the young adult books that were influential in her childhood.

Like many latch key kids of the 80’s (with very limited cable-only 20 channels!) books were a constant companion for me. From the very beginning, I was a Judy Blume junkie. The marvelous thing about Judy’s writing is that I quite literally grew up with it. From Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing to Superfudge when I was seven to Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret and Deenie when I was thirteen and then finally, the racy stuff- Forever when I was sixteen. At the time, I just felt like it was a given that Judy was there, ushering me through all the passages of my life. It seemed natural.

Now that I’m a published author, I can look at the breadth and scope of her work and realize how truly astonishing this feat is. She writes just as poignantly for an elementary age student as she does for adults. Needless to say, I’m a big fan.

When I wasn’t reading Judy, I was reading books that took me away from what felt like a very dreary (and certainly fairly solitary) life in Toronto. Without any shame in my game, I freely admit to having almost every volume of the Choose Your Own Adventure series. Last week, Ava Duverney’s trailer for A Wrinkle In Time dropped and I actually wept. I was right back to being eleven years old again and just like when I read the books, Madeline L’Engle’s world building took my breath away.

People often ask me why I write YA novels. I don’t think it’s something you can really understand unless, like me, reading was a vital component of your childhood. Books helped me understand a lot of what my immature brain couldn’t get on its own. Reading helped me process the big ticket items (death, sex, divorce) which I compartmentalized. A good writer’s take on one or more of these issues would break them out of the vault I had sequestered them in and give me a chance to deal with them via somebody else.

So, when people ask me ‘what books did you read when you were a kid?’, I kind of think the better question is, ‘what books didn’t I read”.

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