The Popularity of YA (Let’s Talk Bookish)

Let’s Talk Bookish is a weekly meme, hosted by Rukky @ Eternity Books & Dani @ Literary Lion, where we discuss certain topics, share our opinions, and spread the love by visiting each other’s posts.

Technically the meme is posted on Fridays, but I’m getting to it today. 🙂

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This Week’s Prompt

The Popularity of YA

Examples: Should YA take up most of our reading (if it indeed does)? Do you like reading YA? Why or why not? What do you love/hate about YA books? What do you think is the most popular genre in YA and why? Why do you think YA books have such a big community as opposed to other books? Do you think YA transcends the age barrier?

Reading young adult books is such a controversial topic, and it has been ever since I started blogging! I do think that, within the actual blogging community, most people are accepting of reading YA and realize there are lots of great stories; the snarky comments about how all YA is bad and/or grown-ups should be mature and not read it seem to come from strangers people encounter in real life (not people in the online community) or from journalists who know they can still get lots of hate page views by publishing yet another “YA is only for kids; grow up and read Tolstoy” piece. Within the bookish community itself, I’ve actually seen more of the opposite trend growing a bit, which is people annoyed by people who don’t read YA (as in, simply don’t enjoy it themselves, but don’t bash people who do), and I wrote a whole post about that here!

My basic opinion on the subject is that people should read what they want, whatever that is. I like reading YA, but it’s certainly not the ONLY thing I read, and I do think there’s a lot of value in reading outside one age group. YA has a lot of great stories, but the books I spend the most time thinking about or that challenge me most are often nonfiction or classics, not the young adult novels.

But if someone does want to read only YA? That’s fine. People read for a lot of different reasons, and if YA is what they find enjoyable or inspirational or just manageable (the books tend to be faster reads than many adult books), they can go for it! I’m not anyone’s teacher trying to expand their worldview or their taste in literature or their literacy skills, and I’m not the reading police. If someone wants to read only graphic novels or only cozy mysteries or only romances, that’s up to them!

There are many people who read primarily YA, however, and I think they would be better at answering why that is better than I can. I do think young adult novels transcend age–but I don’t think it’s unique in that. I, as an adult, can 100% read about a teen and their trials or adventures and find it interesting and thought-provoking. Even relatable in the sense that I was once a teen! However, I also enjoy reading picture books and middle grade books. And there are tweens and teens who like reading adult books. So, of course, YA books can be read by anyone–but so can most other types of books! (I say “most” instead of “all” just to avoid coming across as if I’m saying a kindergartener should start reading George R.R. Martin, which is obviously not my point.)

What do you think? Do you read mostly YA books? Do you think there’s something special or different about them?

29 thoughts on “The Popularity of YA (Let’s Talk Bookish)

  1. Kim @ Traveling in Books says:

    I have such a love/hate relationship with YA. It seems like the more hyped a YA fantasy is, the less I like it, and then I end up loving lesser-known books that other bloggers and whatnot hardly seem to have heard of. When I find a YA fantasy (I don’t read contemporaries in general), I enjoy the setting and the main characters (usually young women) and the ways they get into trouble, get out of it, and learn from their mistakes. They’re more straightforward than adult books, and the characters’ emotions are more on the surface, which means there’s less for me to parse and try to figure out when all I want to do is sink into a book and escape reality for a bit. That’s the joy of a good YA fantasy for me– the escapist aspects of it. Because sometimes, you want to get away from it all for a while.


    • Briana | Pages Unbound says:

      Same! I generally just say I like YA, but there are times I think it just all sounds the same! Down to the very writing style! (My friend thinks it’s books that all sound like they’re written by Sarah J. Maas, but who knows?) I *do* think there are different YA books out there, whether that’s the plot or just how the prose sounds, but you’re right they’re often under-the-radar books.

      I agree the fact that YA tends to be short and fast-paced is a draw. I like adult fantasy, as well, but sometimes you get these huge complex series like Brandon Sanderson or George R. R. Martin, and sometimes even when it’s a standalone, tons of people complain it’s too slow for them (The Night Circus, Spinning Silver, etc.). If someone just wants to read a fun story they can finish quickly instead of taking weeks or years, YA is there for them!

      I also personally like that YA isn’t generally too dark (though dark YA seems kind of in right now). I mean, sometimes I just want to read about people who believes in themselves and have happy endings, not people with tons of baggage and plots where everyone divorces and dies or whatever.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. salonimore1702 says:

    I love queer young adult books a lot and I’m not quite sure why I’m so drawn to them! I guess it’s refreshing to read different perspectives from diverse voices! I’m not the biggest fan of YA fantasy aside from Uncle Rick’s books (I’m pretty sure his books will always appeal to me!) and a few here and there. I find that a lot of them are quite repetitive. So, I guess it really depends on the genre? I’m just spitballing here. 🙂


    • Krysta says:

      It seems to me that there has been an increase lately in the number of queer YA books being published! I’m excited to see what kinds of new stories we’ll see being released in upcoming years!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. The Book Family Rogerson says:

    I don’t read as much YA these days, especially the hyped releases but still enjoy dipping in now and again. Although I’ve enjoyed the glut of fantasy, I’m wondering when the bubble will burst and what will come next…


    • Krysta says:

      I’ve been enjoying the fantasy, as well, though it does seem to get repetitive after a time. I am seeing more contemporary, mystery, and historical fiction YA being published. However, I don’t think they get the same marketing or attention as the fantasy releases.


  4. Nikita says:

    That’s a wonderful subject to discuss. I usually read YA (mostly contemporary) because I can relate to those characters and their situations more than other characters that aren’t young adults. Those books are also typically “easier” to read for me, so I can read them after a difficult day to unwind. However, I have started reading other books too and I like those as well!


    • Krysta says:

      I do appreciate that YA books can be shorter or easier to read! It’s nice sometimes to sit down with a book that doesn’t require me to reread passages several times for understanding. Or to be able to get through a number of shorter books–it gives me a sense of accomplishment!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Alex @pareads says:

    I love YA books and am not a teen! I agree that the books that challenge my way of thinking end up being nonfiction/adult books, but I don’t always want that when I am reading for fun. Sometimes I do! I enjoy reading a mix of YA, adult and nonfiction. I will say that many YA authors seem more willing to write about all kinds of diversity. For example, I see way more characters with disabilities or LGBTQ+ characters in YA books (not to say every YA book does it right or that they don’t exist in adult literature, just an observation!). There are a ton of good books out there and don’t think we should be restricted by the age of the “target audience” for a book. Read whatever you want! Thanks for writing this discussion post 🙂


  6. Zezee says:

    I agree that people should read what they want and shouldn’t be judged for it. As you said, people read for different reasons.
    I have a complicated relationship with YA books, I guess. I like them and am kinda annoyed by them. I mostly read YA fantasy, but to me, in recent years YA fantasy has grown to be romance but in a fantasy setting, which annoys me because I pick up the book wanting and expecting fantasy but instead the book focuses too much on the romance. I sometimes take a chance and dip back into YA fantasy hoping to find something I’ll like. I recently read the Belles. It was okay, but I like that there was just a hint of romance so it didn’t take over the plot. Same with the Raven Boys. There is some romance between the characters, but it doesn’t overshadow the story.


    • Briana | Pages Unbound says:

      Yeah, I usually just say I like YA, but there are times I get tired of it and think it all sounds the same. It’s like I’m reading the same book over and over and have been for the past ten years or something. But then I find some GREAT ones and love YA again. I do think more readers have been asking for less romance, so maybe publishers will listen.


  7. Books Teacup and Reviews says:

    I agree with your point. People should read whatever they love. I read many genre YA, MG, adult and even children’s book and I find something unique in all of them and sometimes we can find books with same message in all these age groups. These days I’m seeing lot of amazing YA book with unique storyline, own voice depictions, and multicultural theme.


    • Briana | Pages Unbound says:

      Yes! I think people also forget that adults *write* these books, and that often means there are things that are interesting in the to adults. For instance, I’ve seen some middle grade and YA books make some insightful points about parenting, which may or may not come across to the target audience but could be interesting to adults.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Christina @ The Bookshelf Corner says:

    Great post! I’m of the same mindset as you. I love YA fantasy and it’s the genre I primarily read when I first got really into books. YA has shaped me. Now I read multiple genres and age groups, picture books to adult contemporary romance and such. I won’t tell another person what to read because people have distinct preferences, thoughts, and ideologies, etc. that make them see the same book differently than I do. Free to read whatever you enjoy most or are interested in.


  9. ashley says:

    I’ve found myself reading more YA contemporary, YA contemporary fantasy, and YA urban fantasy. There are some books that I refuse to read because of how hyped they are, and I’m not interested in reading them. A lot of the contemporary books that I’ve been reading have been written by Black authors and authors of color. I do love to mix in middle-grade and adult books too.


  10. Dani @ Literary Lion says:

    I’ve never seen anyone upset that people DIDN’T read YA so that was really interesting to learn. It’s true that the book blogging community is extremely YA heavy so it’s hard to find a place in if you don’t read YA at all…

    I agree that people should simply read what they like to read and not be ashamed of that fact. I also enjoy plenty of genres that aren’t in my target age like picture books etc. and I think it’s perfectly fine to read anything you feel like you get value from – even if that value is only enjoyment.


    • Briana | Pages Unbound says:

      It seems like an assumption that people are being book snobs if they don’t read YA, but sometimes they just…don’t read YA and don’t care if other people do! I mean, I don’t read romance novels, but I’m just not personally interested in them. I’m not secretly thinking they’re trash and everyone who reads them is ridiculous!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. coupleofbees says:

    I don’t hate YA books, but it’s not my favorite genre, personally. I acknowledge that my indifference is probably due to my ignorance of the genre and my bad luck of having read some particularly bad entries (every genre has its bad apples). However, when I first started blogging, I asked the community for recommendations and I’ve found some very good reads since then. If you have any faves you’d like to recommend, please let me know!


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