In Defense of YA Books

There is an article on Slate against YA. Well, more specifically, against adults reading YA books.

I have run into people with the opinion that if you’re an adult you need to read adult books. That once you become an adult, you should have outgrown children and teen books and begin to read “better, literary books.”

People say that adults book are complex, intellectual reads and when you become an adult you should want to read them, you should want to challenge yourself. I think many people see children and teen books as simple.

I read YA, I read children’s books and honestly, that is what I love to write. Children’s books and YA books can be complex, they can be intellectual and challenging.

I am not bashing adult books. Although I read a lot of YA, I’m opening to reading books from any genre. Have I liked everything that I’ve read? No, I haven’t and I don’t think anyone likes every single book they’ve said. I’ve read YA books that I didn’t really enjoy, I’ve read ones I have enjoyed. And I’ve read adult books that I enjoyed greatly, others I haven’t really liked. My point being, while I love YA, I do read and enjoy other genres.

In the article the author says to adults “We are better than this.” Meaning, we are adults and therefore, above this lowly genre known as YA. I don’t really get this way of thinking. I read what I like and I don’t bash others for what they read. What I think matters is that people are reading. So what if someone exclusively reads YA or even romance? If you only read adult books or non-fiction, this doesn’t make you better than someone who reads YA, or romance, or mystery.

And someone once said to me that it’s fine if a person reads Dan Brown or Twilight, but if they don’t go on to more literary, higher quality books then what is the point of reading? In other words, what does it matter if a person reads if they never go on to read what is considered “better books.”

There have been lots of studies done on reading and it’s been found that reading any genre is good for your mind. It doesn’t matter if you never go on to literary books, all that matters is you are reading. And of course, there are people who won’t believe this. Like the article against YA. Adults are supposed to be better and now the time they reach adulthood, above YA and it’s childishness.

Like adult books, YA books can have amazing stories and complex characters, characters that a person can relate to. And unlike the article says, not all YA books end happily. Trust me, I’ve read my fair share that didn’t have happy endings.

I read and write YA and I’m not ashamed. No one should ever be ashamed of what you read. Read what you like and don’t listen to what people say. No matter what genre I read, or you read, or another person reads, we’re all readers and not better than one another.

I’ll end this post with some quotes by C.S. Lewis.

 

“Some day you will be old enough to start reading fairy tales again.”

 

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

 

“Critics who treat ‘adult’ as a term of approval, instead of as a merely descriptive term, cannot be adult themselves. To be concerned about being grown up, to admire the grown up because it is grown up, to blush at the suspicion of being childish; these things are the marks of childhood and adolescence. And in childhood and adolescence they are, in moderation, healthy symptoms. Young things ought to want to grow. But to carry on into middle life or even into early manhood this concern about being adult is a mark of really arrested development. When I was ten, I read fairy tales in secret and would have been ashamed if I had been found doing so. Now that I am fifty I read them openly. When I became a man I put away childish things, including the fear of childishness and the desire to be very grown up.”

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15 responses to “In Defense of YA Books

  1. I’m going to go read the article now but regardless of what it says I read YA, I read NY Times Bestsellers, I read old classics. Whatever catches my attention and can keep it past the first five minutes!

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  2. I love the CS Lewis quotes! 🙂
    And you’ve expressed all of this very well!
    I just read. I don’t pay attention to what “kind” or genre of books.
    I even love picking up children’s books for the kid to in my life and I read them before I give them to them. I even read the preschool books! 🙂
    HUGS!!! 🙂

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  4. I read what I want to read- and that includes some “children’s stories”, “Young adult” fiction and “women’s books”. One can only understand other people by connecting with what moves them.

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  5. That was a ridiculous article!! I know a lot of adults who read YA! Including me. Not ashamed at all. Sometimes sex and violence gets to be too much in those adult novels. I like sweetness. 🙂

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    • I like reading YA. A lot of them have great stories with complex characters.

      I just think a person should be able to read what they want and not be made to feel bad for it. In my opinion, reading anything is good.

      Like

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