Why I Read/Like Young Adult Fiction

                Image It’s because I’m a teenager living in an adult body… no I’m totally kidding. Truthfully I started reading YA because it is cheaper… at least where I live and I know that’s a horrible reason to read anything but it’s the truth. YA Novels run about 10$ each, while a novel of the same size in ‘adult’ fiction is almost double that, basically it’s 17 dollars for a novel of the same size, same amount of words, and it’s all based on the fact that one is aimed at teenagers and others are aimed at adults.
                I also fall in this weird category, the ‘in-between’ group. Teenagers  are usually the main characters in YA fiction and 30+ are running around as main characters in regular fiction. So often times, as a woman who is only freshly married and not a mother yet, dealing with things like divorce, children, critical illness due to aging, etc is a little more difficult for me to comprehend.  I know one couple that has gotten divorced and most of my friends aren’t even married yet themselves, let alone starting families (and I’m not saying you have to be married to have babies just in case anyone cares enough to yell at me through the internet).
                Don’t take this the wrong way however, I love adult fiction. My favorite authors are adult writers, and you better believe I’ll shell out the money for a copy of their newest book in hardcover the second it’s on the shelf and I can get my hands on it. I have read adult fiction throughout my teenage years and I even read a few adult novels as a child (my parents should have known better than to leave something hanging around that they didn’t want me reading…opps) but I have found in these last six months to a year,  I am craving adventure, surprise and intrigue and I oddly enough have found what I was looking for in Young Adult fiction.
                I read a lot of Science fiction, thriller, paranormal and dystopian Young Adult fiction. I very rarely read things like “Anna and the French Kiss” in the young adult genre and though I hear great things about it I don’t think I’m likely to pick it up because that part of Young Adult fiction that does not often resonate with me.
                There is a lot to be said for the Young adult Genre, it exists in a way that I don’t think it had existed before. The stories are complex, they are not simple, they can be very dark and edgy all the while not being offensive and I like that. Sometimes I feel like adult fiction writers feel like they have so much to prove, they have the write the scenes filled with the most gore, the most explicit sex and most explosive relationships, both romantic and personal.  Adult fiction tends to be more intellectually deep as well and while I really enjoy that sometimes it can be a bit harder to immerse yourself into the story line.
                I don’t feel ashamed that lately I’ve amassed a huge collection of young adult books or Imagethat sometimes you find me stalking the young adult section at book stores and libraries. It’s what I read and what I read does not define who I am as literature junkie. Don’t let it define you either, or ever let anyone tell you that you’re too ‘old’ to read YA. Sometimes, I’ll even read books meant for Children… my favorite children’s book? Harry Potter and anything by Roald Dahl (Matilida for the win).
                I personally think that at the end of the day you should be reading only for yourself anyways so don’t try to live up to others expectations, don’t let book ‘snobs’ tell you what to read or what is important to read. Read what you enjoy and only what you enjoy. Life is too short to spend time reading books we hate just because we feel that’s what we’re ‘supposed’ to be reading, Also never feel ashamed for not liking an over hyped book, despite high ratings not all books are meant for everyone.
                Here are a few of my favorite adult books
                * White Oleander by Janet Fitch
                * Prozac Nation by Eliabeth Wurtzel
                * The Peach Keeper by Sarah Addison Allen
                * The Shinning by Stephan King
                * Sunflowers by Sheramy Bundrick
                *The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold
                * The Heretics Daughter by Kathleen Kent
                * The Distant Hours by Kate Morton
                * The Blue Umbrella by Mike Mason
                * Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt
                * Room  by Emma Donoghue
                * Granny Dan – by Danielle Steele

                These are all fantastic books and I’ve read all of them more than 3 times each. Some books just stick to your bones like good food on a cold day. Sometimes people write things that resonate with you and you’ll never forget the way it made you feel and react and you’re never wrong for feeling that way despite the intended ‘age’ bracket.  
                Why Do you Read YA or why don’t you read YA. If you don’t read YA what do you think about adults reading YA? Really interested in discussing this fun topic!Image

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8 thoughts on “Why I Read/Like Young Adult Fiction

  1. This is a really interesting post. Thanks for sharing. I haven’t thought much about pricing for YA vs adult novels. I know middle grade are cheaper than YA, but in many cases, they actually are much shorter.

    There certainly is a stigma attached to reading young adult literature, and I think a lot of that is misinformation. “Children’s books” simply means books that have themes that will resonate with children. YA books have themes that will resonate with teens. That doesn’t mean they are poorly written, intellectually deficient, or “lesser” literature. There are commercial books and literary books in both the adult and children’s section of a bookstore. Many books (like His Dark Material, the Abhorsen trilogy, etc.) are even found in both sections. The fact that the intended audience of a book is adults does not automatically make that book profound. And, frankly, that’s ok. Different types of books serve different functions–some are for entertainment and some are for deep thought.

    I, like you, have face some small prejudices for reading YA. One friend consistently makes comments like, “Wow! You read so much faster than I do! You must skim! Oh, wait, you read YA. That’s faster and has large print.” (Really, this is the only time I’ve thought the old adage, “They’re insulting you because they’re jealous” might actually apply.) Ironically, this same friend read an adult book I lent her in a single night–because it’s a highly readable book. These things–accessibility, font size, profundity, etc.–are generally unrelated to whether a book is YA or adult.

  2. You said it perfectly when you said not to let anyone tell you you’re too old for YA. I’m in my early twenties. That’s not old, but I’m positive I’ll still love YA when I’m forty-two. When I’m eighty-two. It’s what I grew up with and it’s what makes me happy. I’ve actually recently learned that a lot of YA readers, if not most, are outside of the targeted age demographic anyway.

    As for the book snobs who still decide to tote their literary superiority over you by shoving classics in your face and turning their noses up at your latest YA book love, just remind yourself that it’s a million times less pathetic to remember that just because you’re getting older doesn’t mean you can’t keep a youthful spirit than it is to think it’s okay to belittle someone for something aas trivial as what they choose to read. There are so many beautifully written, emotionally deep YA novels out there that to deny their significance as real literature is narrow-minded and sorely misinformed.

    Love, love, love this post!

    • I am so glad that you enjoyed this post! It’s something that I’ve been feeling really passionate about lately and something I think more book bloggers need to talk about.
      I also think I’ll enjoy Young Adult fiction until I’m very old as well, in fact if I have children maybe we’ll lend each other novels some day…
      The act of reading is so beautiful in its self it’s crazy that people judge it. I just love when I see people reading books, it doesn’t matter to me what the intended age bracket is.
      I loved your comment!! and I am super happy I wrote something that you also feel strongly about!!

  3. Great post! I think one of the reasons YA has become so popular for adults lately is that there is a little more freedom for stories that don’t quite fit into the established adult genres (though this might be changing, as teen fiction often seems to be getting more formulaic). If fact, many of the YA books I love are more complex, thoughtful, and intelligent than a lot of adult books…they’re the kind of stories that stick with you for years. Two favorite author quotes sum this up perfectly:

    “You have to write the book that wants to be written. And if the book will be too difficult for grown-ups, then you write it for children.” ~Madeleine L’Engle

    “A children’s story that can only be enjoyed by children is not a good children’s story in the slightest.” ― C.S. Lewis

    • I completely agree. There is just something so enjoyable about them, something that’s kind of frank honest and open even. Sometimes I find adult fiction tries to hard if that makes sense and that YA is just what it is with no pretenses.

  4. I found YA for exactly the same reason as you did and I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised. I was worried that I wouldn’t enjoy reading it but on the whole I have really enjoyed them. It is strange at my age reading books about younger people but there is so much good stuff out there in this genre. I am writing in the adult genre as that is what mainly I read, but I certainly don’t regret broadening my horizons to YA. Thought provoking post. 🙂

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