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? 

Waiting On Wednesday: Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo

"Waiting On Wednesday" is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking The Spine where we highlight some of the upcoming books we can't wait to read! 

Title: Ninth House
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Genre: YA/NA Contemporary Fantasy 
Publisher: Flatiron Books 
Publication Date: Oct. 1st, 2109

Summary: Galaxy “Alex” Stern is the most unlikely member of Yale’s freshman class. Raised in the Los Angeles hinterlands by a hippie mom, Alex dropped out of school early and into a world of shady drug dealer boyfriends, dead-end jobs, and much, much worse. By age twenty, in fact, she is the sole survivor of a horrific, unsolved multiple homicide. Some might say she’s thrown her life away. But at her hospital bed, Alex is offered a second chance: to attend one of the world’s most elite universities on a full ride. What’s the catch, and why her?
Still searching for answers to this herself, Alex arrives in New Haven tasked by her mysterious benefactors with monitoring the activities of Yale’s secret societies. These eight windowless “tombs” are well-known to be haunts of the future rich and powerful, from high-ranking politicos to Wall Street and Hollywood’s biggest players. But their occult activities are revealed to be more sinister and more extraordinary than any paranoid imagination might conceive.

Believe it or not, I've never read anything by Leigh Bardugo. Don't ask me why cause I don't know. This summary really stuck out to me and I'm intrigued by the mention of secret societies. I'm hoping this takes a fantasy twist as well. Can't wait to get my hands on this!

What are you waiting on this week? Leave your links so we can stop back!

Top Ten Tuesday: Rainy Day Reads

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl in which we create bookish lists about everything from our favorite characters to love triangles and everything in between!

This week's theme: Rainy Day Reads

When I think of Rainy Day Reads, I think of those page turners that you can't put down and, because of that, you finish them in a few hours. These are the books I just loved so much that I can't help but read again. 


These are some of my favorite rainy day reads! Be sure to share your favorites with us! 

Guest Post by Author Molly E. Lee!

Today on the blog, we're lucky enough to have Molly E. Lee, author of ASK ME ANYTHING, here for a guest post talking about her thoughts on social media in the YA/book community! So without further ado, let's introduce Molly and share her guest post -- and you can also find more information about the book at the bottom of this post!

About Molly! 
Molly E. Lee
Molly E. Lee is an author best known for her romance novels, the Grad Night series and the Love on the Edge series. Molly writes Adult and Young Adult contemporary featuring strong female heroines who are unafraid to challenge their male counterparts, yet still vulnerable enough to have love sneak up on them. In addition to being a military spouse and mother of two + one stubborn English Bulldog, Molly loves watching storms from her back porch at her Midwest home, and digging for treasures in antique stores.
Keep up with Molly: Website / Twitter / Goodreads / Facebook / Instagram

Guest Post!

Molly: I believe social media is sort of a double-edged sword—it has both positive and negative aspects—but it is an essential tool in the book world.

There is something terrifying about the instant connection social media gives us and it has both positive and negative effects. A positive can be that it will connect loved ones with pictures and messages that may not have been available because of the distance separating them. A negative can be a teenager in school, seeing a post that all her friends went out to lunch but didn’t think to invite her along. This creates that instant hurt and rejection without actually being directly rejected by the group who went out. It’s a tough line to walk and makes high school, even middle school, about twenty times harder than it used to be. In the past, before social media, everything was hearsay. There could be a rumor about an event or a person, but that could be chalked up to petty gossip. Now, with the instant access everyone has to the details of our lives, there are often pictures or videos to back up the story. It’s a scary way to live, knowing that any mistake you make could go viral.

This also applies in the book world. Negative reviews of our work happen—it’s a given in this business because the beauty of art is that no two people will see or read it the same way. Authors go into this career choice knowing that and accepting it, but it doesn’t make it any easier when we see the bad reviews or someone making negative comments about your work. As a rule, I tend to stay away from reading reviews—I have someone close to me read them and if there are any details that can help me grow and learn in my craft, then they relay them to me. But, there have been times that people have tagged me in negative reviews, drawing my attention to their opinion. Everyone is entitled to an opinion, of course, and social media gives us a platform to express those things in which we are passionate about. It’s when the platform is used for malicious purposes that make me cringe. These instances are the reasons we so often see our peers posting “I need a break from social media. See you in a month.” Sometimes the onslaught of negativity and outright hate splashed across our feeds is overwhelming and it’s sad.

But, on the other side of this social media sword, is the positive effects. Stories of amazing human beings going viral or a singular person reaching out in the world who feels alone and is hit with comment after comment from people who have endured the same situation. The bond through shared experience can happen from the comfort of your own home. Where you once felt unreachable you are now connected with people who have the same interests and passions and together you find yourself healing. This was a major theme in my upcoming release Ask Me Anything in which Amber creates an anonymous blog where her peers can write in asking for sex advice and more. The idea that there is a safe place to go and be heard when those physically around you can’t or won’t understand is an inviting and comforting concept. And a reachable one as one of the perks of having access to endless platforms on the web.

Another positive, especially for the book world, is the connection I experience with readers and bloggers and aspiring authors and more. One of my favorite things is to get a message from a reader about how they’re reading or read my book and hear their thoughts on it. Hear how they relate it back to situations they’ve been in or their family or friends have been in. I love helping aspiring authors as well when they reach out. And I absolutely admire each and every blogger for what they do. The time and effort they put into each book they read, each post, each feature…it’s incredible and something to be applauded. And luckily, social media allows me to speak my thanks directly and instantly.

The online book community can be a truly wonderful and beautiful place to be and it’s all made possible by the modern platforms given to us. I have readers who have become dear friends to me, bloggers who have become mentors, and fellow authors who have become best friends—all made possible by social media.

Ask Me Anything touches on both the light and dark sides of this modern tool, and Amber’s character shows her strength by using it as a force for good. A force for change.

It’s not the topic or the filter on the photo or the amount of views that gives the tool power—it’s when the person behind the computer, phone, or tablet, decides to use the platform to try and create a positive change in the world. That’s where the true power lies.

I’m so grateful you had me over today to chat! I hope you’ll enjoy ASK ME ANYTHING when it releases on May 7th! Be sure to check out the EPIC giveaway I’m hosting in celebration of its release! Spoiler alert—there is a laptop up grabs!!! 



Title: Ask Me Anything
Author: Molly E. Lee
Publisher: Entangled: Teen
Publication Date: May 7th, 2019 

Summary: I should’ve kept my mouth shut. But Wilmont Academy’s been living in the Dark Ages when it comes to sex ed, and someone had to take matters into her own hands. Well, I’m a kick-ass coder, so I created a totally anonymous, totally untraceable blog where teens can come to get real, honest, nothing-is-off-limits sex advice. And holy hell, the site went viral—and we’re talking way beyond Wilmont—overnight. Who knew this town was so hard up? Except now the school administration is trying to shut me down, and they’ve forced Dean—my coding crush, aka the hottest guy in school—to try to uncover who I am. If he discovers my secret, I’ll lose him forever. And thousands of teens who need real advice won’t have anyone to turn to. Ask me anything…except how to make things right.

Thank you so much to Molly for stopping by and guest posting on our blog! We are super excited about ASK ME ANYTHING and can't wait for it to be out in the world on May 7th. Keep an eye out for our review, coming soon!

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