You know, my initial reaction when someone tells me they don’t like YA is to judge. In the weirdest of ways, it almost results in me wondering if the person talking down my favorite kind of books is a snob. To be fair, that’s a generalization that happens pretty typically since people who read YA can get a lot of judgement just in general for reading books that are about teenagers and geared toward teenagers. I get it, to a point.
You like your divorce and murder books, that’s cool. Or maybe you prefer the “literary” genre? As though reading literary novels makes you a step above everyone else. And again, I’m generalizing. But the truth is that I don’t personally understand the appeal of typically adult novels. And what this really comes down to in the end is the fact hat I have little to relate to with them. I can enjoy crime fiction sometimes, but for the most part it’s not something that I want to spend massive amounts of my time with.
I’ve come to the realization in recent years that it’s not exactly YA that I’m looking for anymore, but YA is the only place to really find what I’m looking for. The thing is, I’m not really all that interested in reading primarily about teenagers. But I also don’t want to read about adults who have kids and are married or getting divorced. Ultimately, that life is not my cup of tea. I don’t even enjoy contemporary all that much and I know for a fact I’m not a fan of sex scenes.
So, what is it that I’ve realized I’m looking for? It’s that period in your twenties where you’re still kind of figuring yourself out. It’s the time when you don’t quite know what you’re doing with your life but you’re getting there. It’s when you finally have that relationship that might turn into something significantly long-term. And YA is the closest to that I’ve ever found.
I’m excited for New Adult becoming more prominent within the book world to tell you the truth. I feel like it’s really going to open up into something wonderful that we’ve needed for a long time. I’ve learned, over my years of love and adoration for the YA world that I’m past the days of teenage angst and immaturity–which is to be expected of teenagers, really; I was one once, after all and I was there–and the YA books I enjoy the most are the ones that don’t fully portray teenagers one hundred percent realistically.
This, of course, doesn’t change my love for YA. But a truth we tend to ignore–the fact that most teenagers do not act like the characters in many YA books–is one of my biggest reasons for loving it. It was Vivian Parkin DeRosa’s article that really sent this message home for me because she makes some valid points. And while I don’t agree with all of them–I personally don’t mind a number of the issues she has with YA; namely the 20 year olds bit, forever love, and having their lives together–I do agree with some.
It’s been good to have the thought consideration, really. Especially since I think part of the reason YA is often judged and looked down on is a result of people seeing the characters and their readers as immature. And, frankly, I find that unfair on so many counts.