A topic that has come to light on on the bookish side of Twitter lately is that of the mystery of the “not so young adult” readers of Young Adult books. It seems there’s a surprising amount of people out there who think that YA books are for “Young Adults” only but you see, books have this magical property…they’re for everyone. Genre’s are not a limitation, at best they’re a guide line for what you can find inside. I don’t have to be an alien or star ship captain to be able to read science fiction, I don’t have to be a wizard or an elf to enjoy Fantasy (although it’s quite likely I’m probably at least 1/3rd Hobbit let’s be honest) and I don’t have to be a detective or a serial killer to read murder mysteries. So why would I need to be classed as a “Young Adult” to read the YA genre?
Recently I discovered a group via Twitter created by Jenn over at her blog Jenniely called The Crone Book Club. A book club for the over 20’s who still enjoy reading YA books and it was a great feeling to see just how many other people around my age still read YA. This got me thinking about how many times I’ve felt embarrassed to talk to some people about what I’m reading. Don’t get me wrong, most of, if not all of my friends know I read YA and my book knowledge is kind of my special ability in the group (that and my ability to fall asleep doing pretty much anything.) but at work where they know I review books I’m often asked what I’m reading and there’s a brief flutter of embarrassment on occasion. From this day forth however I vow to be a proud YA reader! I enjoy what I enjoy and that shouldn’t be affected by anyone else’s narrow opinions and what an (almost) thirty year old should and should not read.
“Why would you read that? Isn’t it for kids?”
I’ve found myself being asked in the past and with this discussion surfacing on social media again I decided I’d answer that. First of all, yes. Yes this book’s main target audience may be children or young adults but that doesn’t mean it isn’t for me, I just wanted to get that part out of the way first. To be honest, “Because I enjoy it” should be more than enough of an answer for the other half of the question and is all that really matters but I do enjoy YA specifically for a few reasons.
Most YA books are just generally good. The protagonist’s age doesn’t get in the way of compelling plots, original ideas and often swoon worthy romances (which for me can be hit and miss I’ll admit). YA books are more likely than not to be exciting and fast paced to keep young readers interested when they could at the touch of screen (or voice command!) watch a TV show, Film or their favorite Youtuber/Streamer. YA books needs to grab their attention and keep it. This makes for some great reads.
I have never cried at a book aimed at adults but YA books make me cry and laugh out loud and feel things on a sometimes daily basis. The emotions conveyed in these books are usually intense and often familiar to older readers which adds a whole other level of enjoyment (or pain!) to those moments. The best books and the ones that usually have the biggest impact and stay with me are the ones that can make me cry.
I’m not a huge reader of massive tomes. I find them uncomfortable to read and often I get bored. YA books however are usually much shorter and a perfect size for my busy life and short attention span. A lot of them are cheaper too! I picked up a book from the “Adult Fantasty” section last week and nearly had a heart attack.
This one probably sounds a bit weird but I enjoy the middle ground that a lot of romance in YA occupies. The romances are often just that…romantic. There’s flirting and teasing and almost kisses and everything feels just that little but more charged. As someone who used to read a fair bit of erotica I’m so bored of reading the same words and phrases over and over again to describe people having sex. I would much rather read about the little tense moments before two people kiss and then “fade to black” as it were. I don’t need an exact description of two people having sex to further my enjoyment of the story, I’ve been married five years and have a three year old. I know what sex looks like, I just want to get on with the story! (Some “New adult” books are a little steamier but these are fewer and further between and although occasionally cringe worthy still often preferable to me.)
Now we all know that most of the time books are better than their adaptions but there are so many great books being made into not entirely terrible films right now. This is great because it can help bring more people into the wonderful world of books and because there’s just something about seeing characters you’ve read about and enjoyed (or loved to hate) on the big screen in the flesh. Yes these certainly aren’t always perfect and sometimes they do a disservice to the book but I sill get enjoyment out of them as an extension of whatever world they’re about. Also let’s be honest if film studios are thinking they’re good enough to be made into films there must be some adults enjoying YA right there!
My kind of interesting.
I couldn’t give a hoot who is sleeping with who on whatever soaps are popular at the moment or what this woman said about this other woman and how that guy is planning to leave his wife and blah blah blah. Tell me about the four teenagers who just saved the world from demons, the Siren Princess of an ancient bloodthirsty lineage who just wants peace, the reincarnated girl in love with an angel and a devil, give me fae, GIVE ME HUNGER GAMES, heck, even give me Twilight! I’m much more interested in Emett and Bella arm wrestling than I am in watching two grown women pathetically scrabbling in the street over anything less than a Kingdom or a bow and arrow that may or may not save their lives.
Obviously these points don’t apply to every YA book. I’m more drawn to the Fantasy and Science fiction inclined YA titles but they feel so different from their adult kin and just fit into the niche of what I enjoy much better. That being said READING IS FOR EVERYONE. If you’re an adult and you enjoy Adult books more than YA, THIS IS FINE!! Honestly I don’ care what you read as long as you’re reading because if you’re not reading you’re missing out (and probably lost…this is a blog about books!) I sat in Foyles the other day and read a children’s book about a dragon who owned a bookshop and it was brilliant. Don’t limit yourself! I still read, own and enjoy books aimed mainly at adults as well, I just find that YA stories are more interesting to me and it’s easier to find something I enjoy. So next time you feel like judging what someone is reading have a think about it and let people enjoy things without having to justify themselves to you.