As an adult, there are certain expectations. You must pay your bills, go to work (if you have a standard job), cook, clean the house, do your own laundry, and…and…and… The list goes on and on. One of the things that I’ve found makes me feel better about all of that is reading. I love the books written by adults for adults. I have a whole collection of my favorite authors who write books dealing with tough subjects. But I also love YA books.
It’s like my fascination with animated movies. Some of the ones I watch are definitely not for children (like Princess Mononoke and much of the anime I watch). But I also love Disney films, the films Don Bluth did, and even some of the cutesy programs that show up on my Netflix as recommendations after I’ve watched an animated movie.
I’ve been twitted for my love of YA books and children’s movies. I’m told I’m immature and need to grow up. I love Harry Potter. I really enjoyed The Hunger Games series. I’ve got City of Bones, though I’ve only read the first chapter on it. I like it too. I even read the Twilight books, and yes, I think they’re crap. But I read them anyway because I found them interesting enough to want to get to the end of the story.
I think people connect YA to being immature because they believe that only teenagers should want to read it. But those books can address all kinds of deep topics in ways that can be understood by everyone. For adults, YA books can be quick and easy reads. They can tell a good story without the violence and sex you see in many adult level sci fi and fantasy. Sometimes that’s what you need in a book.
There are also teenagers who prefer the adult level books. I know I was one. I read a lot of adult level fantasy and sci fi. Then again, when I was a teenager, I didn’t see much in the way of YA books. I honestly don’t know when the YA tag became as prevalent as it is now. But I do know that I didn’t really read anything in the YA segment until I started reading the Harry Potter books. Once I finished those, I began a search for more interesting books in the YA branch of fiction.
I think adults should be allowed to read whatever they want without being harassed about it being only for children. I think any kind of reading is important and if someone enjoys it, that’s what it’s there for. I know adults who swore they wouldn’t pick up a book for entertainment who read Harry Potter or The Hunger Games and found them engrossing enough that they started looking for more books to read. They read both YA and adult fiction. They even encourage their families to start reading more. That’s an important step as all authors strive to build a list of fans that will buy their books.
My take on the whole YA/adult level book debate is basically this: shut up and let them read whatever they want.