Adults in YA: Why We Still Read, Part 3

If you're an avid YA reader, there's no way you've escaped hearing about the stigma that surrounds the genre -- the fact that people who read YA even though they're older than the "targeted market" are often seen as immature, nostalgic, or stuck in their younger years. Recently, after our university newspaper posted an opinion piece in which the writer talked about how we all need to "read our age" -- meaning, basically, that we should break away from YA and focus on the classics such as Dickens -- we decided to send out a Tweet and ask if there were any other YA readers that were over 18 out there. Not to start trouble or stir up angry feelings, but just to see -- just how many "out of the age range" YA readers are there? Our Tweet was as follows:

SOS! 🗣 Do you read YA even though you’re 18+? If you do, please DM us or reply to this Tweet — we have a post idea, and we need your help! #replytweet

— The Book Bratz (@thebookbratz) March 14, 2019

Well, it's safe to say the response we got was absolutely overwhelming. We got nearly 1,000 people over the age of 18 who wanted to tell us why they still read YA even though they're past the "marketable" age-range for the genre. We had so many amazing responses that we wanted to take the time to share them all with you -- but since there are so many, it turns out that we had to make it a series! For 10 whole weeks, we're going to be sharing 10 reasons (100 in total!) why "older" YA readers stick with the genre, and why it's important to them. So without further ado, here are 10 readers above the age of 18 who explained to us why they still read YA:

I read YA because I find great solace in watching a young adult character struggle through the same turbulent life decisions I made -- and get it wrong. Nearing my late twenties now, I can confidently say I took the wrong turn at almost every opportunity, so having a character do the same and still come out okay gives me great hope for my own future. 

When I was a teen I tended to read only adult novels because as a voracious reader I’d gotten it in my head that I should be reading “that caliber of writing” -- what rubbish! I found adult books to be depressing as an adult and they tended to only be dark and gritty. I read to find hope and escape from our dark and sometimes depressing real world. YA novels are filled with hope, and kickass women, and people searching for who they are and who they could be AND are still perfectly well written. YA has everything I want and need from literature and I’m proud to read a lot of YA books yearly! 

I read YA because I teach teenagers. We have a new English curriculum that allows us to read 10 minutes [a] day. I read with them! It’s absolutely amazing. I have an hour a day to read! It’s a dream. However, I was once one of those people who looked down on YA literature. However, I’ve seen the error of my ways. My students love these books and I want to share their love of these books. 

Novels have the ability to note only shape minds, but to prove to people that they are not alone in what they might be feeling or experiencing. A lot of people find comfort in reading and young adult fiction can help people in what might be one of the most turbulent times of their lives as they transition into what people call the "real world’"and have to discover how to live and look after themselves. Young adult novels follow characters in a thrilling stage of their life, on the edge of something new and exciting. Reading about these experiences, about change and how to deal with change, can be rather therapeutic and can help people understand the change and challenges they are currently going through. Like teens themselves, YA takes risks. YA books are companions, they're comfort blankets, they're an escape. If writers want to reach that level of intimacy and companionship it can only be achieved if the book itself is reflective of the target reader. But that does not mean that people beyond the target age can't yearn for that sense of companionship, and that's what YA books are; they're a friend. 

I'm a 28 year old mom that reads YA. Why? Because I connect to the stories more than any other genre/age group. Young Adult is able to bring topics to light that other genres can't and the stories are so mature and diverse that it's easy for me to relate to the stories. Young adult has a voice that everyone should listen to.

YA stories are powerful, as their themes are often unfiltered, raw and honest due to the age of the characters -- many of whom are experiencing key life defining moments for the first time. As we age, we tend to become more rehearsed/constructed/rigid in our views and how we approach the world, our lives, and others, and there is something about the willingness to accept, question, and live freely, without abandon, as characters in YA novels do, that satisfies a desire in older readers of this genre. The ability to once again be those young selves and approaching life with the same vulnerability and experiencing all that helped shape who we became -- first loves and first heartaches, sexual awareness and desire, mental and physical health highs and lows, good/bad decision making, first drinks, smokes and sex, etc. -- is a gift. To restrict readers of YA to a specific age group, or to infer one graduating out of the age group should grow up or be more serious in their reading, is to confine the hearts and minds, and a lonely way to live. And for me, personally, YA stories that explore love, loss, and life are powerful reads because we all want to step away from the reality of our older lives and worlds, and remember what it was like to live and love as we once did; who we once were, forever etched on who we are. 
-@dmsreadwrite, 43

I read YA for a number of reasons but the main one is books don’t have an age limit. Everyone should be able to enjoy books regardless of age and genre. The story lines of YA novels are incredible and the characters develop so well over time. Even though I’m in my mid-twenties, I find YA characters more relatable than a lot of characters in adult novels. 

I read YA even though I am 26 years old because it's still fun! It's a genre of books that deal with a person's potential, and who doesn't want to hear that they can do anything, even if they're told you cannot by the world, society, culture, or even your family? YA is about hope, love, potential, power, and the ability to harness all of these things for ourselves. This is why I read YA. I need to hear this myself from time to time. 

YA isn’t a genre, it can take you alien planets, fantasy worlds, other countries and other times. YA literature just proves that age is but a number and being strong and brave and powerful isn’t something you have to wait to inherit, it is something you become. YA shows the young adults of today’s world that we can stand up against adversity, big or small, and we can be the change. 
-@ClareTansell, 23

Finding out "who you are" doesn't end when you turn 18, so why should reading coming of age stories -- either light and fluffy or dark and twisty -- end when you mature past the "advertised" age group? YA protagonists (and antagonists) are some of the most complex and resonating characters I've ever read about. Why should I give that up just because I'm 40? 

What are your thoughts about reading YA past the "age-appropriate" market? If you have something else to add on this topic, feel free to comment down below and share your opinions! Also be on the lookout for another post next week, where we share even more thoughts from other 18+ YA readers!

Check Out The Previous Posts:

Part One
Part Two

Review: The Night Olivia Fell by Christina McDonald

Title: The Night Olivia Fell
Author: Christina McDonald
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Rating: 5/5 Stars
Paperback, 368 Pages
Published February 2019

Summary: In the small hours of the morning, Abi Knight is startled awake by the phone call no mother ever wants to get: her teenage daughter Olivia has fallen off a bridge. Not only is Olivia brain dead, she’s pregnant and must remain on life support to keep her baby alive. And then Abi sees the angry bruises circling Olivia’s wrists. When the police unexpectedly rule Olivia’s fall an accident, Abi decides to find out what really happened that night. Heartbroken and grieving, she unravels the threads of her daughter’s life. Was Olivia’s fall an accident? Or something far more sinister? Christina McDonald weaves a suspenseful and heartwrenching tale of hidden relationships, devastating lies, and the power of a mother’s love. With flashbacks of Olivia’s own resolve to uncover family secrets, this taut and emotional novel asks: how well do you know your children? And how well do they know you?

I originally received this book as part of the March Scribbler box, and when I first opened it, I wasn't sure what to think because I was never a fan of adult books (as you clearly know, I am a big YA fan here, LOL!), so I wasn't sure if I would have a tough time falling into the story or anything. However, that was absolutely not the case with this book -- I practically flew through it and couldn't put it down because I always wanted to know what was going to happen next. So without further ado, let's get into this review!

As the summary explains, Abi Knight is horrified when she finds out that her daughter Olivia fell off the town bridge. Even worse? She's in a coma and almost definitely will never wake up. Even more intense? She's pregnant, and nobody knew about it. The worst part of all? The bruises on her wrists make it clear that this was so accident. So Abi sets out to find her daughter's attacker as the clock slowly counts down to the inevitable moment that Olivia's baby is born and she will be taken off life support for good. Can she possibly figure it out in so little time?

I absolutely adored this book and couldn't put it down. I sped through it because Christina McDonald was such an excellent writer when it came to creating a thrilling, mysterious story that made you fear every turn of the page while also tugging at your heartstrings. The fact that there were chapters that we saw in Olivia's POV that gave us info Abi didn't have yet also added a lot more stress to the situation. I seriously can't say enough good things about this book because it was definitely the best psychological thriller I've read in a very, very long time!

(Spoilers here -- skip to the next paragraph to avoid them!) Something that I really loved about this book was the way that everything panned out in the end. I was really impressed with the way that Christina McDonald put so many false leads into the story, first making me think it was Derek that pushed Olivia, then Gavin, then maybe even Kendall or Madison. There really wasn't any point that I suspected the real killer until they were actually revealed -- but then, once I went back and looked at all the clues, everything made sense. The ending scene where Abi is letting go of Olivia really touched me, too, and I'll admit that I started to tear up a little bit because it was so sad and emotional. This book definitely makes you cry just as often as it makes you gasp!

Overall, I absolutely loved The Night Olivia Fell, and if you're reading this review, I strongly encourage you to add this to your TBR immediately. I promise you that you won't be able to put this book down -- you'll read it so quickly because you'll always want to know what's going to happen next. If you're looking for an intense, gripping, thrilling mystery that has you on the edge of your seat, then The Night Olivia Fell is definitely the book for you. I'm super grateful to Scribbler for sharing this book with me, because now I have a positive experience with reading outside of my preferred age-group that I didn't have before, so it makes the adult genre seem less daunting and intense for me! 

20 Back Listed Books to Add to Your TBR ASAP!

I feel like there are so many books that are so over hyped before they are even published that excitement for any other book(s) seems to get pushed to the side. For me, I have a hard time reading books that are over hyped, most times I find they don't live up to the hype. 

But today I want to feature a few blacklisted books that deserve some hype because they were all amazing reads and books I'll reread to help pull myself out of a slump! There are also a few in here that friends have suggested to me and they believe the be under hyped as well! 

*Click on the covers to be redirected to their Goodreads pages*


Have you read any of these?! What book do you feel like is severely under-hyped?