Where I share my thoughts, musings and bookish questions.
I get asked this question a lot, by people who are just honestly curious, by people who are secretly judging me, by people who don’t even attempt to hide their disgust. Because answering this question is getting old, I have decided to tell you why, exactly, I like to read YA. Because apparently we need to write an explanation of sorts to have people understand why we love books for this age group, whereas people who only read classics never have to do this. I’m not going to go into that right now, although I think you are pretentious and sad if you judge people for what they read.
I think that people have the wrong idea of YA books and to be honest, it bothers me that people are overgeneralizing when it comes to YA. Like a well-known actress who will soon portray the female lead in a YA book to movie adaptation pointed out (*cough* Chloe Grace Moretz *cough*), the first thing people think of when they think of YA is love triangles. They think all YA books are Twilight, Harry Potter, The Hunger Games, or City of Bones, and while there is nothing wrong with those books (don’t you dare bash HP and THG in front of me!), YA has more to offer than these incredibly hyped series, and I hate that people don’t see this. Of course, the Twilight franchise is so famous (or infamous, if you will) that this is something people think about. But let me tell you this: not every YA book is like Twilight. And if you judge a book by another book that just happens to be written for the same age group, I think you’re doing something wrong.
Who said that a book can’t have literary value, just because it’s written for young adults instead of adults? Why think less of adults who read YA for fun, when it’s perfectly acceptable the other way around? Part of the reason I started a YA blog is that while I think that it’s a great thing to write impressive stories for teenagers who can learn from them, that does not mean they are the only people who can learn from these books. I think people need to be aware of the great stories that YA has to offer, instead of being put off by something that is really just a guideline. There are fluffy and literary, emotional and logical, straightforward and insightful YA books, just as there are fluffy and literary, emotional and logical, straightforward and insightful adult books. YA books are about life and struggles and romance and friendship and family and society, just like adult books are. The only difference is that they’re written for a younger audience, which does not mean that this is the only audience for this book. (Dont believe me? Check out Gillian’s recommendations!)
My personal reason for reading YA is that it makes me happy. This does not mean that all YA stories are happy-go-lucky fluff stories with no real content or literary value. It does mean that I like reading about characters who, damaged or not, are for the most part still hopeful, have not given up on life, are not in the middle of a midlife crisis, are characters I can still relate to but also learn from. These are characters that, despite their issues, still have their whole lives ahead of them, and are at that defining moment in life where they get to decide who they are and who they want to be. This fascinates me. I love reading about characters growing up and learning to deal with disasters, while still having some youthful hope and positivity. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying all adult books are depressing, or that I don’t like dark books (the opposite is true, really), but I like where these characters are at in their lives. I think it’s an interesting time.
I don’t even exclusively read YA. I will read pretty much anything that speaks to me, no matter which age group it was written for. But it still bothers me that I have to keep explaining why I mostly like young adult books instead of adult books, as if this is something that makes me somehow less than people who only read classicss. I’m not saying you have to like these books, but to judge books for one age group by other books meant for that same age group is pretty narrow minded. I’m not giving up on classics just because I hated – hated - Heart of Darkness, am I? All I’m saying is give these books a shot before you judge them, and don’t judge people on what they read. It’s ridiculous.