Adults in YA: Why We Still Read, Part 8

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:

YA stories are fast paced and well-thought out, covering topics and issues that adult novels sometimes shy away from but that are so important for society as a whole -- not just teenagers! And as an adult, I love going back and exploring the world from a teenage point of view -- it was a time of firsts, and important firsts at that, and if we forget about what it was like for us back then, we risk becoming less empathetic humans who forget the power and strength of young people. 

Reading is meant to be fun and YA stories, like T. A. Barron's Merlin series or Frank Beddor's Looking Glass Wars or Anthony Horowitz's Stormbreaker, are just as entertaining as any grown-folk read (and sometimes more so). YA is also at the forefront of LGBT acceptance; just look at the success of Becky Albertalli's Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda and how meaningful it is. When was the last time an "adult" book touched that many lives? 

I'm 27-years-old and I still read YA because even as an adult, I still connect to young adult books. I'm drawn to them for their rich characters, or complex plots, or their nuanced treatments of serious subjects. Even though I'm not a teen anymore, YA deals with a lot of themes I can still relate to, like finding your voice and your place in the world. And as a bonus, I'm a teacher, so I can relate to my students over common reading material. 

I read YA for the same reason that I read any other book. Something (it's probably the cover, TBH!) about the book sends a spark into the reading part of my brain and makes me want to know more. Readers who dismiss YA books for whatever reason are really missing out on some amazing literature. YA encompasses everything that other genres have and sometimes more. If reading a book can bring you joy, then why should the fact it may be YA matter?  

I'm 32, and I read YA. For me, it's not the nostalgia that draws me in -- I was never a princess or a fierce fae warrior. The characters' experiences are nothing like my own, but I read it for the escapism. It's so easy to find a character-driven adventure with a light or dark tone that hits the spot in YA! 

I enjoy reading YA literature (even though I'm about to be 28 years old) because it's interesting. The adventures and magic that are a part of so many of these books draws me to them. The relatable story-lines and characters sometimes remind me of my life now and before when I was a bit younger. YA is just a broad genre that speaks to me more than other genres. I don't want to read adult romances and every nonfiction book that's just not for me. I like stories that make me use my imagination and give me that "movie in my mind."  

The reason why I still read Young Adult novels is because this genre got me into reading. I’ve tried reading books for “my age” and they don’t capture my attention like a YA novel. I feel like there is a sense of adventure and growing that you can really see in a young adult character. The story lines in each book seem to be much more diverse in terms of worlds to me as well. Just because you’re a certain age shouldn’t define what you're reading or your reading preference. 

I am no longer a young adult by any means, but I still read YA books. I find YA books often tell some of the most imaginative stories, and they so often feel very connected to the world as it is now. They explore current ideas, trends, prejudices and issues in ways that make them feel relevant and important. But most of all, there are so many YA authors out there writing excellent stories. 

I like YA novels, because it feels like they combine multiple genres within one book. With "adult" books, it's often the case that you either read something romantic or something serious or a mystery, while with YA you can find all of that in the same book. 

[I read YA] because it's the only place I remotely see myself represented. Also, I made friends through YA -- bloggers, authors, publicists, agents etc -- and I don't know how I could give that up. And yeah, sure, I read adult books too, but YA seems more sophisticated, thought out, and put together. There's more diversity, not just in race or religion, but also in general experiences, and I've gotten to understand life better by reading YA. 

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

Part Four

Part Five

Part Six

Part Seven

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