Hello. My name is Meredith. I’m 27 years old (today!). I have a master’s degree. I’m married. I pay my bills. I’m very much ‘an adult.’
And 90% of what I read is YA.
Every time I go to B&N, I beeline for the teen section. I guess I always have, ever since I actually WAS a teen, and just never stopped!
There has been a lot of negative stuff out there recently about adults who choose to read YA. I’m sure most people know about that infamous Slate article slamming adults who read YA. I also recently saw a review of the new Hunger Games movie – Mockingjay – that essentially said it was such a great movie, you can “overlook” the fact that it is YA. As if saying that most YA books / movies are bad and therefore not good enough to be enjoyed by adults. Both articles made me not only angry, but a little sad, that someone would judge a book based on its age rating and not on its content.
However, the more time I spend with the writing community, the reading community, and just people in general, I realize that the ones who criticize YA are in the minority. Most people seem to understand that a protagonist’s age has nothing to do with 1. the quality of the plot 2. the depth of the plot 3. the quality of the writing.
So here is my answer to “Why YA?”
1. Many of the issues teens face in YA books are issues I remember from being a teen – and issues that are still relevant for adults. YA books cover a whole range of issues, including (but not limited to) relationship troubles, falling in love, finding your identity, societal pressures, family struggles, poverty, mental illness, physical illness, and growing up. I don’t care how old you are, everyone can relate to the feelings of discovering yourself and growing up, because we’ve all been there.
2. Many literary classics I grew up with and still love today are YA or MG. Harry Potter, Charlotte’s Web, The Hobbit, The Catcher in the Rye, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, The Giver, etc. etc. etc. are only a few examples of books written for children / teens.
3. YA books are good books. They are just as well-written, well plotted, well conceived, and well edited as any adult book. The characters are just as flawed and relatable.
That’s not to say anything is wrong with adult books. I’m just saying there’s equally nothing wrong with an adult who reads YA. Or MG. Or anything really. Books are awesome, and we as a culture need to stop shaming people who choose to read in the genre/ age group of their choosing, whether that is YA, romance, erotica, science fiction, fantasy, contemporary, or anything else.
Anyway. That’s my post! And you should read it and share it, because today is my birthday.