Today’s top 10 list consists of the 10 reasons I prefer young adult books to adult books. Please keep in mind, as the title suggest that these are just the reasons that I prefer young adult. You may like adult books better for the opposite reason, and that’s fine, but these are just my thoughts on the topic. I read an infuriating article that shamed adults for reading YA, and then another article that does the exact opposite, so I thought I would weigh in on the topic!
This is probably the biggest reason I enjoy young adult compared to adult books. I would rather read a books that relate to my experiences so far in my life rather than what could happen in the future. There are plenty of young adult books that have characters who experience A LOT more than I have, but at least we have some major life experiences in common. I’m not sure if I’ll ever be a divorcee or a widower or even a mother; it’s not easy for me to read books about milestones I haven’t gotten to yet.. or may never get to. At least with a young adult book (no matter what genre, for the most part) I have been through the basic stages of growing up.
People against YA will argue that it’s not as literary as adult books, which I don’t agree with for a lot of reasons, but I just think the writing is different. Young adult books can be well-written, poorly written, unpredictable, predictable, literary, cliche, suspenseful, boring, mature, immature — just like adult books can. There is just something about the young adult voice that authors use that really works for me. Most adult books I encounter, especially the ones deemed “literary” and “classic” have been difficult to read, and I generally consider myself to be a pretty smart person. I can handle complex books and stories, but I just prefer the way they’re written in young adult. They’re not trying too hard.I love reading about characters that I could imagine being friends with. So many books I’ve read recently have the BEST characters and groups of friends. Beyond that, I have already dealt with the intricacies of being a young adult in high school or college. I can look back on my experiences and relate to the ones in the book. I remember how hard friendships could be in high school or maintaining them in college. I remember drama with spending more time with my boyfriend than my friends. I remember it all and I feel like I could give mounds of advice on the topic. Reading books with teen characters makes me simultaneously want to pat them on the head and say “it gets better” while jumping in the pages with them and remembering my life at that point in time.
Every single person out there could name at least 1-5 authors that they consider favorites. You’ll automatically buy their books no matter what, you’ve followed their career and new releases as long as you can remember, and you can’t imagine NOT reading a book by them. The vast majority of these authors for me are young adult authors and really don’t write books outside of that group. As long as they’re putting books out, I’ll be reading them!
I don’t really like calling “young adult” a genre per se, but in this case it’ll do. The whole area of the bookstore seems safe and familiar to me. I’ve gravitated towards that section for my entire life! It really just feels like home. I know I’ll be able to EASILY find a number of books that I’ve heard of and/or want to read. There are so many different options for the books in terms of actual stories; I can’t imagine getting bored or running out of options in that area. If it ain’t broke – don’t fix it! If I still enjoy it and it’s comfortable to me, why not keep it up as long as that’s still true?
Yeah, I’ll admit that the bookstore can be an overwhelming place. I truly don’t even know where to begin as far as looking for adult books goes. I have to rely on Goodreads and bloggers to find recommendations. I can think of one adult other that I would automatically buy from (Liane Moriarty), but have NO clue what to do aside from that. The rest of the bookstore world beyond the young adult shelves is a vast sea of scary books I haven’t heard of. I’m very picky about genres and I’m not sure where to go when exploring the other sections of the store. What if it’s too cheesy and romantic? What if the fantasy is too much for my tastes? Sure, someday I’ll expand my horizons – but that day is not today!
We’ve all read the anger-inducing articles that shame adults for reading young adult books. We’ve all also probably read articles that aim to do the opposite. Regardless, we bloggers just don’t care what you think. We don’t give a crap that young adult books are suggested for 12-17 year olds because WE READ WHAT WE WANT. No shame. Does someone make you feel like a shitty person for not liking a certain type of food or music? More often than not, they don’t, aside from some basic teasing. (Like, everyone loves pizza don’t they???) It’s been amazing to join this community of people my age or older reading books that are “too young for them.” Huzzah, I’m not the only one!
I’ll see the future when I get there, okay??? At age 23 and fresh out of college a couple years ago, I still am in that mindset. I don’t want kids yet. I don’t want to get married yet. I don’t even want to think about some of that stuff! Reading books involving adult women getting through divorces or having trouble in their high powered job or struggling with other parents at their kids’ school just doesn’t appeal to me. My brain is still about 20 years old. I don’t want to think about what it’ll be like to be 40 yet. I can’t relate to it. I can relate to stories in high school or college because I’ve BEEN THERE and DONE THAT. I don’t want to think about marriage let alone divorce at this point in my life. I just can’t wrap my brain around it. Sorry if that makes me close-minded or immature; it just doesn’t appeal to me.
There there, high school people – it gets better! I’m happy about where I am in my life. Reading stories about people dealing with bullies, overbearing parents, annoying siblings, etc. – makes me so glad I’m past that part of my life. I can look back on those memories, relate to them, and be grateful for what I have. Reading books about middle aged women can make me feel uneasy about where I could be headed. I like being 23, living with my boyfriend, and starting my career. The world is my oyster! I’m past the high school cliques and college dating game; I’m moving on with my life while looking back and reminiscing with a smile. Plenty of YA books don’t have a happy ending, I realize, but they’re all pretty hopeful and optimistic. When I finish the book, the main character has just gotten together with their longtime love interest. They’ve just started a new chapter. They’ve gone through some rough stuff but it’s mostly settled now. When I read these endings, I’m optimistic for the characters and for myself. I love a sad book every once in a while, but I prefer to end a book with a good taste in my mouth. Truthfully, with adult books, I don’t know what to expect. Will the book end abruptly? Will the main character ever get her shit together? There are many more instances of unsatisfactory endings in classic literature or popular adult books than in young adult books. I’m not sure if this relates to my age or not, but there’s nothing wrong with a happy ending. I want to be optimistic at the end of my book.
You’re totally right. YA is no different to any other book in that it can be well or badly written, cliched or surprising. It’s down to the strength of the writer. Reading’s a great form of escapism so if you’ve found a type of book that works for you, go for it!
It is so frustrating that people feel the need to put down YA for any reason! Some of these reasons I haven’t really thought of in support of YA, so it was really interesting to read through your list. I think your last point is the most important one for me – I like to read for escape, and I love a good positive book with a happy ending. Adult books often have too much realism I guess so there’s a lot of sadness in them. Great post! It made me smile too, to see the Back to the Future gif – you don’t see enough BTTF gifs!
Thank you! haha I appreciate it <3
*massive round of applauses for you* YA is great and I love reading it, I don’t feel ashamed and I get quite mad when people say reading YA is embarrasing. Can they explain why? I feel YA books deal with more mature aspects more often and I love that and also, I consider myself a young adult because that’s what a 23-year-old woman is. I don’t see myself as an adult just yet and I don’t feel YA is just for teens. So yeah, there’s that.
Exactly! haha. Thanks for the comment 🙂
This is fabulous, and so true! I was actually in a bookstore a couple weeks ago with my brother and as I was browsing in the “teen/young adult” section he was like, “shouldn’t you stop reading books from this section… you’re not exactly a teenager anymore”. First of all, no I will read what I want. Second of all, you ARE still a teenager and don’t read AT ALL, so I don’t see how your opinion actually means anything… Forget the haters, YA will be my favourite genre for years to come!
haha exactly!! I always feel like I get weird looks in that section and I’m only 23. People should read whatever they want
Yes this is great. I love YA books. I don’t mind reading adult books from time to time, but overall I enjoy reading YA books because of all the reasons you listed above. I relate well to the characters and love getting lost in the YA worlds.
Exactly. Same here. I’ll read YA for many years to come!
You make some really great points, especially when you say they’re things that you can relate to because you’ve been that age and have experienced similar things. Even though I mainly read adult novels, I love being able to revisit my teenage years and remembering how it felt to be that age when I read young adult novels. Plus, sometimes I need something uplifting, like you said! Great post 🙂
Thank you!! I like reading YA because I don’t want to think about the crazier stuff that can happen when you’re an adult haha. Don’t get me wrong, I DO like them from time to time though!
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