A few years ago before I started blogging, I stood in the middle of the young adult section at my local Barnes and Noble and thought to myself, “How many more years do I have before it starts to look weird for me to be standing in the YA section?” I continued to stand there and mentally came up with a few excuses for why it might be acceptable…I’m writing a YA novel, it’s research. Or, perhaps I’ll have kids and I’m helping them find a great book to read.
Thanks to blogging, I now know that it will ALWAYS be acceptable for me to love reading YA. I know that those excuses are completely unnecessary…I can read YA because I want to.And because it’s good.
A few months ago at that same Barnes and Noble, I saw a girl about my age with a friend browsing the YA shelves. I overheard her say, “I guess I really shouldn’t be shopping in this section anymore.” It took all my might not to tell her that it’s OKAY for adults to like YA books. After all, I’ve been in her shoes before. I used to be nervous as I took my latest YA find up to the cashier…I often worried that they would ask who I was purchasing the book for. There have been times that I’ve been shopping with friends and they’ve asked me when I’m going to grow up and start reading “real” books.
A few days ago, I caught wind of author Malinda Lo’s blog post titled, “A message to my adult readers.” Malinda says that several of her adult readers have emailed her with apologies for not being in her target demographic or being too old to like her books. My favorite part of Malinda’s post is when she compares adults reading YA books to an adult watching a TV show like Glee. Perfect comparison. I know SEVERAL adults who watch and love Glee and other shows that may be marketed towards a younger audience. Check out Malinda’s post and the comments for some great commentary on why it’s perfectly acceptable for an adult to read YA.
Another fantastic article recently popped up in the Library Journal called, “Not Just For Teens. A 35 Going on 13 Special.” Thanks to the Mundie Mom’s for helping me find this post. Two of my favorite authors, Sara Shepard and Ally Condie, are mentioned in this article as authors adults are crossing over to read. Some of the reasons listed for why adults are reading teen books are because many YA books are coming of age stories, emotional immediacy and crossover authors.
The truth of the matter is, you don’t need a reason to read YA. Sure, there are many reasons behind why so many adults are reading the genre and it’s definitely interesting to explore those reasons, but you don’t need a reason. You can simply read YA because you enjoy it. Plain and simple.
So there you have it. My name is Jessica. I am 23 years old and I love young adult novels. And I think I always will.