Thursday, December 18, 2014

Booking Through Thursday - Reading YA

It's been a while since I've participated in Booking Through Thursday, but this question got my interest:

Do you read books written for children or teens? Or do you stick to books for adults?

The quick answer is yes, I read Young Adult books. Not only do I read them, but I write them. But I think there's a little more to this question.

First, there's the implied suggestion that some books are written for children and some for adults. I don't believe books are necessarily written for a specific age audience. Young Adult is not a genre, it's not even a particularly accurate description of a market category. Most 'Young Adult' books are read by adults. Most of us who write Young Adult are fully aware of the adult audience and write stories that will appeal to them.

There definitely are stories that will appeal more to teens than adults. YA tends to feature teen protagonists and quite often deal with issues that are more immediate and important to teen readers. But most adults once were teens, so teen issues, and what adults went through in the past, are still relevant and of interest to adults.

Second, there's a hint that adults should stick to books for adults. I'm not sure exactly what is trying to be classified as 'adult' here, but I've seen plenty of pieces that find some standard to say what's 'appropriate' for adults to read - literary fiction, non-genre stories, stuff with SERIOUS THEMES. That's all crap. Lots (if not most) adult books have little philosophical merit to them and those serious themes tend to be lots of silly literary angst. And the most popular category of 'adult' books is Romance.

People should read what they want. There's lots of great quality stories in every genre and age category out there. And there's lots of crap, and it's perfectly OK to read that too (look at the bestseller lists and you'll find plenty of it). Any good writer will write a book that's for readers, and while some topics are not suitable for young children, many teens are more familiar with the dark aspects of life than your average adult. Can't we move past the judgment and labeling already?


  1. Well said! Thanks for commenting on my blog.

  2. "But most adults once were teens" ... Weren't they all teens at some point? :) I get what you mean, though; it's the reason I can relate to middle grade and young adult books far more than many of the "adult" titles. I may technically be an adult, but I haven't had a lot of the typical adult experiences (getting married, having kids, getting a divorce, etc.)... so books with those themes don't appeal to me as much.