Do you have a bad case of book shame? Are there novels you won't be seen with in public? Are you sneaking around behind good books' backs?

The idea that people should be ashamed to read certain titles has attracted a storm of controversy in the past month. kicked off the saga, with contributor Ruth Graham arguing adults should be embarrassed to read children's titles.

Huffington Post was among the voices to wade in on the debate, with its books editor Maddie Crum arguing there were many good reasons to read a book, such as to experience nostalgia and be distracted from everyday troubles.

Perth independent bookseller Stefen Brazulaitis responded to the furore at the weekend, naming a young adult classic as next month's Stefen's Book Club title.

The respected Stefen's Books proprietor chose The Giver by Lois Lowry (HarperCollins, $15 ebook) for the Shafto Lane store's first Tuesday of the month catch-up at Durty Nelly's Irish pub.

Australian director Phillip Noyce (Salt, Rabbit-Proof Fence) has made the book into a film due out next month, starring Jeff Bridges, Meryl Streep, Home and Away youngster Brenton Thwaites, Katie Holmes and Taylor Swift.

Filmmakers clued in to the same idea as readers years ago - young adult novelists tell compelling, universal stories which capture people's imagination.

People don't read YA titles because they're dumb. They read them because they're interesting, well plotted and worth a look-in.

Young adult titles feature what Hollywood and famous mythologist Joseph Campbell call the hero's journey.

Campbell explored the monomyth sequence in The Hero with a Thousand Faces ($31/ebook $5), with former Disney staffer Christopher Vogler simplifying the story structure in a memo which became The Writer's Journey (Michael Wiese Productions, $18).

Essentially, the idea is that a lead character is given a call to adventure which challenges his or her status quo.

The character refuses then accepts the call, undergoing trials through a period of initiation to be cleansed by his journey, emerging triumphant.

What young adult stories do so well, in contrast to their adult counterparts, is put a group of characters through a journey, with each child or teen growing and changing during the experience, often for the better.

This is where YA titles excel.

Communities of kids become better people in their tales, and humanity is transformed for future generations.

There ain't no shame in that.

'Young adult novelists tell compelling, universal stories.'

The West Australian

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