And if you read a widely within the contemporary YA genre, you have likely seen a certain popular quote in a few of the books you have read. What quote is this, you ask?
So, with that in mind, here are three books that remind readers to ask themselves what they're going to do with their wild and precious lives, just in case you somehow haven't stumbled upon this quote.
Golden introduced me to Mary Oliver's "wild and precious life" quote, and its storyline fits the words perfectly. It follows Parker Frost, a senior who is about to graduate from high school #1 in her class—but without ever having taken a risk or having broken the rules. With the help of an unexpected mystery, Parker learns there's more to life than studying and that memories last longer than the thrill of perfect quiz scores.
I read Golden right before my sophomore year, and it became my manifesto for the rest of my high school career. Despite striving for straight As, I would be sure to stop and ask myself if I was also enjoying my one wild and precious life, and I think I've succeeded with that promise so far.
The Beginning of Everything chronicles a romance—or maybe a not-quite romance—between two teenagers who unsuspectingly burst into each other's lives and teach each other about what it means to be alive. This debut novel is not a typical love story; instead of crafting a feel-good romance, the story focuses on each character's personal growth. By the end of the story, the characters and readers both feel determined to live their wild and precious lives on their own terms.
Seventeen-year-old Rachel Walker has never had much of a say in the path her life takes. A member of an ultra-conservative fundamentalist Christian church, she is taught that children must obey their parents exactly and that women have no choice but to become wives and mothers. As she begins to question her family's belief system, she uncovers Mary Oliver's quote and decides to create her own wild and precious life. I absolutely love books about characters who question their religion—and I've read quite a few—but Devoted is easily one of the best, in part thanks to its use of Mary Oliver's words.
What do you think of this quote—do you agree with it and/or relate to it? Have you read any other books that feature it? Let me know in the comments.