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August 9, 2015

Summer Blogger Promo Tour #6 Melissa from the Reader and the Chef

Week 6 of the Summer Blogger Promo Tour and i'm so excited to have Melissa from The Reader and the Chef stop by and talk about something close to her heart!

Hi guys! I'm Melissa from The Reader and the Chef. I'm thrilled to be here in A Reader's Adventure to share with you my thoughts about the trading systems in YA books! Huge thanks to Mariah for giving me a wonderful topic that sure made me think. (Apologies in advance for the long-ish post. I got excited.) :)

People around me, especially non-readers, are constantly asking me - what do you gain from reading YA books? This is more focused on the fact that I study Foreign Trade & Customs, which means I pretty much know (or am supposed to know) all about how to sell goods, what taxes must be paid when importing or exporting, and also on how to get to know or interact with potential buyers and sellers. So really, what does my career have to do with reading books or book blogging? More especifically, do YA books teach me or help me out with my career?

Why yes, they do in fact. I've learned lots with YA books. Focused on my career, I've learned to understand how places and their diverse culture work, how they survive and get along to satisfy their needs. Even though most cultures in YA literature are fictional, their foundation is not. Aliens or humans, angels or demons, vampires or werewolves, and all other type of beings, are tied down to the same things. No matter what year they are, society in general will always have the same needs too. They have to satisfy hunger, thirst, clothing, etc.

The trading systems in YA books to satisfy these needs actually have an important part in the storyline. For example, the trading system in The Hunger Games. I know, pretty cliché, but it's one of my favorites. In District 12, whenever people want to get ahold of something they desperately need - wether it's food or clothing - they opt in to trade whatever they have with people at The Hob (which is like the black market to them). Even though it's illegal, I like how it works. It's kind of back to basics. You go in, trade game for soap, yarn, or anything else that is a fair exchange. Money is of no use there. Also, you have to know about the people who trade inside The Hob, or even outside, really. Like Peeta's father who has a thing for squirrels and would trade for bread IF his wife isn't around. Best to trade at the back, have to be careful there.

So it all comes down to studying the people. Studying the market. The Capitol's system is a totally different matter. It's a richer economy, though I'm not that familiar with it to be honest. Just nutsy people sponsoring The Hunger Games. Not much to see there. Oh, but Finnick's was interesting! He preferred secrets as a way of payment instead of money. Smart, since he found more use for them than to money.

In historical or fantasy books, it's almost a sure thing that society is ruled by one or more kingdoms. This one is much easier to understand and semi-rudimentary. Gold is generally the "coin" in which people buy their goods, but if we're talking about how to determine wealth, you only have to seek out those who own lots of lands (that is, if they are not the kings, queens or other royalty). In kingdoms, there's usually a famous street in which those of upper class go to buy expensive food, silk and other items. The people who run the stores are middle class, and those who work behind the stores, like hired seamstresses and worksmiths, are lower class.

What I love about the trading system in historical/fantasy books is that you will, at one point or another, come across a scene in which street vendors will yell at you or shove into your face the products they are selling. My inner trading-self squeals every time this happens. It's kind of funny because the same thing happens in real life too. Ever gone to swap-meets? Crazy place where they sell you ANYTHING. Kind of like a mild and legal black market. Ha.

Anyway, this trading system reminds me of the one we read about in The Iron Daughter by Julie Kagawa. It's in that time when Ash is trying to get Meghan out of Winter and takes her through a hidden fey market. Instead of coin, here they ask for your full name, firstborn, voice, dreams, and basically your soul if you want something. Word of advice: NEVER bargain with the tricky fey!

As for sci-fi books, and some other dystopian books, it's just a matter of how technologically advanced they are. Like in Beth Revis' The Body Electric. They use these cuffs on their wrists that work as your I.D., money, social media/internet access, and so many other possibilities. My mind gets a bit dizzy just by thinking about it. If you don't wear these cuffs, you can't pay for food or clothes or transit. Society is bound by these little devices and it's usually the way how the government controls them and knows where you are AT ALL TIMES. Let that sink in for a bit if you thought that was cool.

So you see, the trading systems inside of YA books do play a big HUGE part in books. They are always tightly tied to the government, but of course, they can be studied separately as well. Now I wish I had chosen this topic for my thesis! Now excuse me while I go show off this post to my friends and family so they can see yet another reason why YA books are AWESOME and not a waste of time. They sure can expand your horizons!
Big thanks again to Mariah for having me on her blog today! *Hugs*

Thanks for stopping by Melissa! Here is some more about her!

Melissa is a 21 year old book blogger and reviewer, currently studying Foreign Trade and Customs in Mexico. Her favorite genres are fantasy, paranormal, contemporary, and basically all things young adult with a hint of romance. She also enjoys reading new adult books and classic literature from time to time. When she's not reading, she loves to sing out loud, eat sweets, stare at her collection of books and daydream about marrying one of her favorite book boyfriends. You can find her at her book blog The Reader and the Chef, at Kate Tilton, Connecting Authors & Readers, and stalking her author friends and bloggers as @MeliRobles.


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