Adults in YA: Why We Still Read, Part 4

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 it has one of the most unique and diverse stories that I have ever read. YA lets in so many marginalized authors who bring never before heard stories with them. This lets me and so many others seeing themselves in stories, which brings validation and power to people who didn't have it before. 

As a 25 year old woman, a mother of two children, and a wife, I refuse to put a restriction on the books I read, regardless of their targeted audience. I am able to enjoy a middle grade novel, an adult thriller, or a young adult fantasy all the same. The reason for this is because I love a well rounded story, great characters, and a healthy dose of hope in the novels I read. I primarily gravitate towards young adult fantasy because I live in a world of political despair and it brings me joy to read about young people overcoming the odds and changing their world for the better. In my opinion, the only point in reading is to enjoy yourself and read what makes you happy. 

I'm eighteen and I still read YA because as I grew out of middle grade books I knew I wanted to keep reading, and YA gave me not only good books, but some of the most influential books I wouldn't have read otherwise. There are so many good YA books coming out all the time, I don't see myself stopping anytime soon. 

I read young adult novels because they are what inspired me to be a writer, reading them at my age now brings back the magic I felt when I was younger. I read them because they're not edgy, or dark. They're funny, and heartwarming. I read young adult novels because adulthood is hard, and sometimes it's nice to remember what it was like before maturity made everything so dull. 

I read YA books (specifically of the fantasy/magic fiction genre) because of many things. Partly because, to me, the writing and creativity levels of YA books far exceed those of adult books. In my opinion, YA books are infinitely more interesting. They allow the reader to journey to a magical world to escape from the real world for a while. I started reading YA when I was 12 and I still read it to this day. I don’t need to “grow up” and read things my age, because YA books are written for everyone, regardless of how old the main characters are. Anyone can read YA and appreciate the brilliance and imagination that goes into writing such engaging books. “Young adult” does not mean an age limit. 

I am 32 years old and I read a solid mixture of both YA and adult fiction, in all genres (though I prefer SFF). There are many reasons I still read YA despite being well out of range of its target audience. YA books tend to be fast-paced page-turners, as well as very concept-heavy, which makes them fun to read! They're also heavy on emotion, something that gets sacrificed in a lot of the adult epic fantasies I've read. Therefore, it's easy to connect with the characters and care about the outcome of the story. 

I think it is important that everyone reads what they enjoy. If people are forced or expected to read a book they are not interested in, it could put them off of reading.  I read all sorts of books from many different genres on various apps, actual "real" books or my Kindle. I’ve always loved reading, could read before I started school and even used to help my teacher listen to my classmates read!  Since my grandson came to live with me aged 8, four years ago, I have read many children’s books with, and to him, rereading some books I read as a child. Now he is 12 and is an excellent reader and he says “You should read this, Nanny,” and sometimes I do! I find reading books aimed at  young teens is a nice escape from reality; often having to use imagination which I think we can, as adults lose. Children’s and young teen’s books can still be a challenge, just in a different way! 

I’m 42 years old, and I’m a reader. Although I read a lot and from various genres, fantasy is my top favorite. When browsing for good fantasy, I visit both sides of the bookstore: adult and YA. The YA section can no longer be discounted by lovers of fantasy: there are plenty of highly-imaginative, original and well-written works, and if the synopsis sounds good, I don’t care what shelf the book sits on. Also, YA books usually have sharper dialogue and less explicit violence, and these both go in the plus column, as far as I’m concerned. 

I didn't read during my adolescent years or during my twenties until I rediscovered my love of reading after turning thirty. I felt as though I missed out on something quite remarkable, discovering new worlds through fiction. So when I returned to reading through Twilight and then discovered The Hunger Games, [I continued] to be captivated by the range of narratives within young adult. 

I still read YA because YA books reached out to me as a teen; a few years ago during a tough time. I grew up with these authors that spoke to me through their stories. To this day, they still do wonders for me. I have had the privilege to meet so many amazing people (both teens and adults), which has truly enhanced me as a person. 

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

Part Three


  1. I think you can be any age to read YA; I read YA and I'm not a teen anymore. The YA genre is my favorite because I love reading about coming of age stories and all the experiences that young adults have when they're growing up, it gives the reader a feeling of nostalgia.

  2. This is such a brilliant post series girls. I love what Bookish Expat said above, about not caring what shelf the book sits on because great writing really IS great writing. I've always thought the discussion about adults reading young adult books begun by authors who write adult being a little bitter about their books not selling. Seems legitimate. Thanks so much for including me my lovelies, I really enjoyed it.


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