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