Young Adult literature is typically marketed to those who are between the ages of 13 and 18. I read and loved YA during these years, but now I am nearly 20 and in college. And while I’m no longer in that targeted age range, YA is still my absolute favorite genre.
To be fair, I’m still a younger adult, but I know readers of all ages enjoy YA. And there’s nothing wrong with that; yet, sometimes, society seems to think so.
For example, I’ve had friends who claim they are more “mature” now that they are reading adult level books and are no longer reading YA. To be honest, this makes me incredibly sad. Just because there’s a general targeted audience doesn’t mean that adults can’t read and love YA.
In fact, I think it’s extremely important for adults to continue reading YA (as long as it’s enjoyable to them).
Here’s a few reasons why:
1. YA Helps Adults Understand Teenagers and Their Lives
Teenagers get discredited constantly in society because many adults refuse to understand what life is like from their point of view. Times change, and while adults can claim they know what it’s like for teenagers today, there are topics and issues only the younger generation has experienced. By reading YA, we get a glimpse of what it’s like to be growing up and becoming an adult in the world today.
2. It’s More Fun
In my own experiences, I’ve found that YA books are generally much more fun to read. If I’m looking for entertainment, I can turn to YA; there’s adventures, fantasy, humor, creative plot lines. This isn’t to say other genres don’t include that, and this is more of an opinion, but I have generally found more excitement and intrigue in YA stories.
3. It Can Still Be Relatable
Just because the characters in YA are younger doesn’t mean they aren’t relatable. They have challenges and obstacles to face that can feel relevant to you, no matter what your age. Often, I’ll even find myself reflecting back on how I felt the same way as a character in high school, for example, and it makes me feel very connected to the story.
4. Real issues are Addressed
There are topics covered in YA that are relevant and critical to understanding, and improving, our society. Many serious issues are brought up in YA books such as mental illness, xenophobia, racism, sexism, homophobia, sexual assault, violence, and much more. Valuable lessons can be learned about ourselves and others when reading about these real life issues in YA.
5. It’s enjoyable
Simply put, YA is enjoyable for many readers; even adults. If it’s a genre adults like to read, and is important to them, then there shouldn’t be any shame or judgement. Reading YA is a preference that many adults gravitate towards just because they enjoy it, and that’s more than okay.
YA literature is often looked down upon in our society when in reality it has the potential to teach us valuable lessons, is relatable, covers important issues, and can be completely enjoyable for all ages. Adults who read YA should never feel ashamed for the genre they like to read. You’re never “too old” to enjoy YA, or any book for that matter.
But my general conclusion is this: read what you love. If you’re an adult who likes to read YA, you shouldn’t have to justify it. If you don’t like YA, or any other genre, that’s okay too. What’s most important is that you’re reading what you want to read. There’s absolutely no reason to feel bad about any genre that you like or dislike.
I hope that YA literature will continue to grow and there will be a better understanding of how important it can be to the readers and our world in general. And no matter what age you are, I hope that you always choose to read what you love despite what anyone else thinks. You know what you like, and continuing to read genres that are important to you is what matters the most.
What is your opinion on adults who read YA? If you’re an adult, do you still read YA? If you’re younger, do you think you will continue to read YA when you are older? Let me know!
Thank you for reading!