Young adult books are my solace. Whenever the book I'm reading is dragging, or I just need a pick-me-up, I turn to YA.
YA also keeps me up at night. Kristin Cashore's Graceling was so good that I stayed up until 1 a.m. to finish it, even though I had work the next day. Following in the tradition of kick-ass heroines, Katsa has a gift in killing. But that's not all she's got. I won't spoil the surprise, but Graceling was a lovely read.
Of course, I had to read the next book in the series, Fire. Now this one was even better. I had to get up at 3:30 a.m. the next day but I stayed up again until 1:30 reading it. Then I couldn't go to sleep, so of course I had to read it until I finished it. Sleep be damned. Fire is wondrous read because it deals with women and desire. Fire is a monster who is desired by all who see her. Kingdoms rise and fall because of this girl.
Fire was also an important reminder that you can't escape from the real world. I think that for the past six years, I've done a lot of reading to escape from something -- namely -- boredom at work. But the unsavory details -- rape, boredom, mediocrity -- they're all a part of life that you can't escape. You can only deal with them. Also, the characters in Fire are real. No one is infallible. I'm veering close to spoiler territory here, but let me just say that I was jolted to my senses by the revelation about one character.
So read YA to be comforted, but also to be awakened.