The YA Reading Slump And How to Fix It - Norma Hinkens

The YA Reading Slump And How to Fix It

  • May 12, 2016

So it’s finally hit!

The most dreaded enemy of YA bookworms everywhere: the reading slump. You read a string of amazing young adult novels, and it just feels like you’re going through the motionsThe unwanted cousin to the book hangover, the reading slump will even take the fizz out of that hot new release you’ve been dying to get your hands on. Read on for four signs you’re in a YA reading slump, and how to end it.

  • You have (dare I say it?) apathy about books.

You look at your bookshelves and see the candy-colored spines of the books you pre-ordered or camped outside the bookstore for on release day. Remember how excited you were about the latest Throne of Glass novel? Your eReader is stock full of books you bought on a whim one day knowing that they’d be there when you finally have a chance to get to them. And Goodreads? You haven’t been on in days (okay…maybe weeks). And you haven’t worn your mockingjay pendant in forever, not to mention your “Okay? Okay” shoes that sit in a dark corner of the closet.

Try this: Get together with your friends for a “book talk.” Book talks are different than book clubs because in a book talk people just trade recommendations on what they’ve been reading and want to read. The keyword here is “Enthusiasm,” as in, your friends’ enthusiasm will be infectious and make you restless to read again. Pick a theme to kick things off. Try “Fierce heroines of dystopian” or “Best YA couples ever.” Just trading notes and talking about books again should be enough to jolt you out of your reading slump.

  • You can’t get past page 40 in a book–any book.

Usually, when you start a book, you can’t put it down. It’s easy to slip into the reading vortex and lose yourself, coming up for air when your eyes get tired or when reality settles in. But lately you can’t get more than one chapter–two at most–in before losing interest. Nothing seems to grab you from the beginning and make you want to read on. Even writers who normally hold you spellbound have failed to produce a novel you fall in love with. So you are “Currently Reading” five to ten books, but really? It’s more like none.

Try this: Pick up a YA graphic novel. Yes, graphic novels still count as books. And most of them are quick and easy to read, though that doesn’t mean they are any less powerful or moving than a novel. For a fun comic series about girl power, pick up Lumberjanes. The Tamaki sisters’ Skim is a darkly humorous coming of age.

  • “But nothing will ever compare to the last book I devoured and loved.”

You had a complete and total book hangover after the last book you read. Ah, the feels. They were epic. Who didn’t finish All the Bright Places or Uprooted and not feel electrically charged with how awesome young adult reading can be? But then your book hangover stretched into a week, then two weeks, then three, then a month, and now here you are. Every time you crack a book and dive into that first chapter, you’re disappointed. On your quest to find something that can compare, you’re holding every book to an impossibly high standard–and nothing is measuring up.

Try this: It’s time to break with tradition and read something totally different. If the book that broke your heart and your reading momentum was contemporary romance, read horror. If you just finished a killer good dystopian, try historical fiction. So your friend who reads the YA fairy tale retellings you usually avoid? Go to her and get some suggestions. You need something to make you forget the novel that stole your heart by immersing yourself in a totally new world.

  • Every day you get more and more behind in your Goodreads Challenge, and it’s stressing you out.

Maybe you set your annual reading goal with great excitement on New Year’s Eve, but now the year’s getting on and you’ve slipped a little. That book hangover stole your momentum and you got one book behind, two books behind. Then life happened. Maybe you got sick or you had a stressful midterm. But now it seems like you’ll never catch up, and the more you look at that number the less you want to read. You’re avoiding Goodreads like the plague, and with it, reading.

Try this: You’re having performance anxiety. You have two options. First you could try reading some quick reads such as YA verse novels (Melanie Crowder or Ellen Hopkins) or comic books (Nimona, or This One Summer are good places to start.) Anything to get you back in the habit of reading and finishing books one right after the other. Momentum is what you need to reverse course and end your reading slump.

On the other hand, you could lower your goal down to a reasonable size and cut yourself some slack. Take a walk, smell the roses, and then come back and pull something random from your To Be Read list, and enjoy!

What’s your magic pill to get out of a YA reading slump?

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