YA stories are disrupting tradition

Young adult fiction is booming and author Erika L. Sanchez, a finalist for the National Book Award, attributes its popularity to the risks storytellers are taking within the genre.

Sanchez, whose debut novel "I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter" is a New York Times best-seller, is adamant that the genre is important for all readers, even those who have long left their teenage years.

"It's fun to remember what it's like to be a teenager," Sanchez told Salon's Mary Elizabeth Williams on "Salon Talks." "It's a time in your life when you're really excited to discover who you are and discover the world."

For all readers, including those who aren't necessarily teenagers, Sanchez wants them to find connection and healing within the subjects she tackles, including immigration, stereotypes, mental health and the impact of death through the lens of Julia, a daughter of undocumented Mexican parents, as she straddles two cultural worlds.

Sanchez discussed the impact her novel is having with readers. "I've gotten a lot of messages from young Latino women," she said, "and they are so happy about the book, because they finally see themselves in literature, and that's not something that is common for us."

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