Why I Changed My Opinion About YA Books

Why I changed my opinion about YA books
My growing collection of YA books

Until recently I wasn’t a huge Young Adult (YA) book fan. Don’t get me wrong, I still read books like The Hunger Games trilogy and the Twilight series but I mostly did this because the popularity of both of these series was too huge to ignore. Even my husband and my dad read and loved The Hunger Games. But I thought these books were an anomaly that transcended their intended audience. Gosh, what did I know?

I didn’t read YA books because as an adult I assumed these books were too juvenile for me. I didn’t even read books in this category when I was a teenager. At about age twelve I just jumped straight to reading all the adult books on my parents’ book shelves.

If you Google YA books, article headlines pop up like:
‘Why are YA books so bad?’
‘Adults who read YA are sad’
‘Adults Shouldn’t Read YA’
‘All YA Books are the Same
‘Why are YA books so clichΓ©d?’
Is it any wonder that with opinions like that out there I decided to ignore these books?

Now I know how wrong I was to exclude a whole genre based on preconceived notions that have turned out to be untrue. I was missing out on reading books that made me feel every emotion, books that were cleverly crafted and plotted, had so much imagination and tackled deep, dark, disturbing issues that anyone of any age could relate to. They weren’t childish at all. Yes, mostly the protagonists are young or youngish but why did I think the stories of younger people were now beneath my reading tastes just because I had grown older? I would read a story told from an elderly person’s perspective so why not a young person’s? Yes, books aimed at teens tend to have angst by the bucketload but I was a teen once. I remember the pain of first love, the cruelty of bullies in the playground, the big dreams and the constant struggle to be understood by adults.

So the YA books I read before were few and far between but since joining the bookstagram and book blogging community my view has changed. I actually listen to other booklovers about the YA books they love and why and I try some for myself, mixed in with the other genres I like to read. I have discovered new authors like Sarah J Maas, Holly Black, Rainbow Rowell and Leigh Bardago. I have discovered new subgenres like YA fantasy and YA contemporary. But most of all I have discovered that I can enjoy books that I would have disregarded in the past. A good book is a good book no matter the audience and genre.

YA readers don’t deserve to be looked down upon–especially if they happen to be adults. I will continue to mix YA reads in with classics, literature, fiction, historical fiction, romance and crime thrillers. And maybe I will even try to increase my nonfiction reading. From now on I won’t judge a book by its genre but by what I personally take away from it. Different genres, voices and stories can only enrich my reading experience.

What do you think about YA books? Do you read them or are they not your thing?

15 thoughts on “Why I Changed My Opinion About YA Books

  1. Kester (from LILbooKlovers) June 14, 2018 / 4:07 pm

    I’m so happy that you’re digging deeper in YA! I recently did a research paper on why adults should read children’s literature, and I’ve learned that there’s so many negative stereotypes regarding MG and YA, especially the big one of “there’s no literary depth.” But that is so untrue! I hope you find some more amazing YA novels! πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Sheree Strange June 14, 2018 / 6:46 pm

    I’ve been thinking a lot about this very topic lately (sometimes we’re so in sync, it seems crazy! hahahaha). Like you, I haven’t read a lot of Young Adult since, well, I *was* a young adult, but since joining the world of book bloggers and bookstagram I’ve been thinking a lot about why so many adult-adults love these books and invest emotionally in them to such a degree. I think, since I was a teenager, young adult books have become a lot more complex. There’s a much greater focus on representation for marginalised voices (queer youth, especially) and that’s something I can really get behind. My own List has forced me to read a few YA books that I wouldn’t have otherwise picked up, and I’m really glad I’ve given them a go. I’m not sure I’d say I’m a YA “convert” yet, but I’m certainly less dismissive than I was before I began.
    When I get around to writing my own post on this subject, do you mind if I link back to yours? It’s fantastic (as always)! πŸ˜‰

    Liked by 2 people

    • Janereads June 14, 2018 / 6:57 pm

      Thank you for another thoughtful and considered reply. We are in sync a lot with our thoughts on books. I love your point about representation of marginalised voices (it is too late to add that to my post πŸ˜‚). I think that’s something YA books do exceedingly well. Can I also add that a lot of times they are fun to read! I am enjoying adding YA books into my reading mix. Glad to hear your opinion about YA books has changed as well.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. acosyreader June 14, 2018 / 10:31 pm

    Ahhh I totally agree with you Jane. Love this post and glad to have another genre in common, among many others πŸ’•

    Liked by 1 person

  4. justonemorepaige June 15, 2018 / 5:16 am

    Thanks for your thoughts! I feel like YA as a genre has changed a lot recently and pretty much is the same as many “adult” books, just with different age protagonists. And sometimes even then I think the line to too blurry sometimes to make a call. I love that! And I’m a huge mood reader so I agree with you at the end – I read what strikes me at the moment, no matter the genre!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Janereads June 15, 2018 / 8:05 am

      I agree with you about the genre having changed to be quite adult. When I read A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J Maas I was like is this YA?πŸ˜‚

      Liked by 1 person

  5. cricketmuse June 15, 2018 / 9:05 am

    YA books, especially historically based ones, offer a perspective that adds a deeper understanding in how an event is experienced. Hunger Games and Maze Runner tuned in to how teens react to oppressive governments. I steer clear of mall romance mean girl gist.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. 5171 Miles Book Blog June 15, 2018 / 9:06 am

    Great post!!!! A good book is a good book, it doesn’t matter the age it was intended for. There a C.S. Lewis quote I love that says, “A children’s story that can only be enjoyed by children is not a good children’s story in the slightest.”
    -Ashley

    Liked by 1 person

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