On Tumblr, I see a lot of posts about people being judged for reading YA, quite often because they no longer ‘fit’ in the young adult age bracket. Though I am still in that bracket, I often wonder about what I’ll be reading when I’m older, when people tell me I’ve grown out of that genre and need to read something more mature, and I have a pretty good feeling my tastes will stay the same. Why?
Because I love YA. To me, YA is often realistic. I find it so easy to relate to characters and what they’re going through. I have read romance and adult fiction, but I don’t connect to them the way I do young adult. It may be because I’m 17, I’m the same age as the characters I’m reading about. But I’ve been reading YA since I was about 12 years old and even then I felt a connection to it all and here’s why.
I love reading in general. For me, reading in escape. We all have shitty things going on in our lives. I have shitty things going in my life. I am usually at my happiest when I’m browsing a bookstore or rearranging by bookcase or talking about books. Books are a kind of lifeline; or a drug. And my drug of choice is young adult.
Usually, in my opinion, YA is really great. I have read so many great YA books this year. I think authors are starting to talk about the things a lot of people don’t want to talk about. I love reading books about mental illness and the different types of sexuality because I don’t really no anyone who will openly talk about those things. And they are things we need to talk about! There’s a stigma surround topics like that and I think young adult authors are doing a really good job of crushing it.
I get connected. I get connected to almost everything I read, even if I don’t like the book. I find myself invested in the wellbeing of characters, I root for a happy ending, I hope everything will be okay and that the characters are happy. When I read a book, it’s like I’m there experiencing it all, feeling all the emotions and doing all the things and it’s something I really love about reading.
Young adult is relatable. I have always thought this. I think that it doesn’t really matter what I age I am, I’m always going to think to myself ‘Oh, I’m going through that right now,’ or ‘I went through that when I was younger,’ or ‘one day, I might go through that.’ Though characters do make questionable choices, I think of it almost as a lesson of what not to do. Though I don’t make my decisions based on something I’ve read, when I go through something, I can’t help thinking about when I’ve read it in a book and how it was dealt with. It’s just a natural reaction for me.
There are so many things to love about young adult books! Not all YA books are great, but there are a lot out there that are and there are so many reasons to love them (and sometimes hate them, let’s be honest). Why do you love reading YA or just books in general?