Top 10 Tuesday is a meme hosted over on The Broke and The Bookish.
Whether or not adults should be reading and enjoying young adult fiction seems to be an on-going debate. Some people say it shouldn’t matter what you read as long as you’re reading, while others say adults who are still reading young adult fiction should be embarrassed. Regardless of what your opinions on the matter are, the fact that adults make up a significant percentage of the people buying these books (one article said approximately 28% are purchased by 30-45 year olds, but they didn’t list how they came to that number) is one that can’t be ignored.
At 24, I admit that I am still reading young adult fiction. My current shelves are about half and half with adult and young adult fiction, and I feel no need to be embarrassed by that. As with many other things in life, I don’t think that books should be judged by who they’re appropriate for. The library in my hometown had a children’s section (picture books and elementary-appropriate books) and an adult section (with teen-appropriate books and up), so maybe that’s why I rarely pay attention to things like that. If a book is good, who cares what age it’s written for?
Not to say that I don’t sometimes feel too old for a book I’m reading. I struggle, for example, with John Green’s writing, because I just can’t relate to it anymore and it feels silly to me. But I’ve also read adult books that I can’t relate to for the opposite reason – I feel too young and don’t know what they’re talking about.
But for today, I’m going to just focus on the things I love about young adult fiction, even after I’ve outgrown my teen years. There will be exceptions to every point I list here, but these are generally the reasons I enjoy these books.
Ten Reasons I Love Young Adult Fiction
(in no particular order)
1.The steamy sex and romance is kept to a minimum. Not to say that some well-placed sex scenes aren’t great, but adult fiction seems to over do them or include them when they’re not necessary. It’s a story about a kid being arrested for shooting his girlfriend – why do we need a scene of the parents having sex? Young adult, if it even includes such things, keeps it to a minimum and it is generally important to the story somehow.
2. I love the 8-18 age range. Not that I’d ever want to be those ages again, but I find that period of time absolutely fascinating. I love working with that age range when it comes to my job, and I strongly believe it is one of the most important periods of a person’s life. And it’s fascinating to read about people that age.
3. I genuinely think some of it is better written than adult fiction. I am blanking on who it was, but I remember reading that an author said that writing for children is like writing for adults, only it has to be better. I think this applies to many teen authors as well.
4. Many young adults are more reasonably priced than adult books. Now that I actually have to use the money I work for to buy them, I’m more aware of the cost of books. A new paperback adult novel can easily run you $20. A young adult paperback averages about $13. If I’m on a major budget one month, which do you think I’m more likely to go for?
5. You get to experience falling in love for the first time over and over again, without the stress of actually having to do it. I’ve been with my other half for over five years, we live together, and have a wonderful, adult relationship that involves work, chores, and commitments. I wouldn’t trade it for anything, but sometimes it’s fun to have those first-relationship butterflies again.
6. It’s easier to read. Not to say the writing is bad, though. Adult fiction can sometimes be bogged down in descriptions, long monologues about certain topics, or flowery language, none of which I’m particularly fond of reading. Young adult tends to stick to more what is happening, making it easier to get through.
7. There’s less ambiguity in young adult novels. I like things to be definite in all aspects of my life. It’s yes or it’s no, or it will be one of those. While I enjoy books that give you the sense that characters’ lives go on once the book has ended, there needs to be an ending and things need to be resolved to an extent. Some adult books like to leave things up in the air, or not give you the information you need, and it dives me crazy.
8. It helps me relate to the teens and young adults that I work with. No matter what age range you work with, it helps immensely if you can relate to them. Keeping up with what’s cool makes it a lot easier to connect with teens, which makes it easier for me to do my job.
9. Young adult fantasy is better than adult fantasy. This is a matter of my own preference, though. I just find young adult fantasy more enjoyable.
10. I don’t believe in judging a book by its intended age range. I love a good low fantasy novel. I also adore stories set in World War 2. And I don’t care what age range they’re intended for. If they look interesting, I’m going to read them.
So read whatever you want, and don’t worry about what anyone else things. It’s their loss in the long run. I’m going to leave you with a quote from C.S. Lewis, that pretty much sums this argument up from my perspective:
“A children’s story that can only be enjoyed by children is not a good children’s story in the slightest.”