Top Ten Tuesday: Reasons why I love YA

Happy Top Ten Tuesday! This week’s theme is reasons why I love [literally anything]. There has been so much controversy over the years about adults reading YA — from other readers trying to shame YA readers for not reading books that they deem sophisticated enough to authors actually saying that only teens should read (or review) YA.

While I can absolutely recognize that YA isn’t written with me in mind and I think it’s important to focus on the opinions of actual teens when it comes to these books, I also think it’s weird to set some magical cut-off age where it’s no longer appropriate to read a particular genre.

All of that said, here I go with ten reasons why I, an adult, love YA.


It’s easy to read

Here’s the thing about my reading in general: I like to feel like I’m making progress. I don’t usually read huge books and I don’t usually read things that I feel like I have to slog through. Now, there are definitely some YA books that are absolute bricks, and there are definitely some YA novels that have taken me forever to get through, but overall, I can usually finish them in a day or two.

It makes me happy

There’s a lot of just purely feel-good, fluffy YA. And don’t get me wrong, those kind of adult books exist too. But I can usually count on adult books to have some big, dramatic conflict that will stress me out to no end. And while YA can be about something dark, it doesn’t usually feel overwhelming, and it almost always has a happy, uplifting ending.

I might be older, but I can still relate

I might have graduated from high school twelve years ago, but I still remember what it’s like to try to find your place in the world, to try to get up the courage to make a big, life-altering decision, to worry about disappointing your parents, and to worry about whether you’re making a fool of yourself in front of the person you like. These are such universal themes! I hope I’m never too old to relate.

I usually don’t like books that end with marriage and kids

One of my biggest pet peeves in an adult romance is everything suddenly getting wrapped up neatly with marriage and children. It’s fine if it’s been part of the plot all along or if it makes sense for the characters, but I hate it when the last chapter features the couple, usually at the start of their relationship, having just gotten through some huge fight, and then we have a random epilogue set a year later and they’re already married with kids. This happens so often in adult romance and I think it sets a really unrealistic expectation that marriage and children are the ultimate goal. This is something that just does not happen in YA since, you know, the characters are teenagers.

It’s a nice escape from the sad medical charts I read all day

I spend 40+ hours each week reading and coding medical charts, mostly from very sick people. I often listen to a YA audiobook while I’m doing that so that I don’t dwell too much on what I’m doing.

YA now is so much better than YA when I was an actual Young Adult

Don’t get me wrong, I read a ton of YA when I was a teen. But the YA section of my library was just a corner. I read nearly all of the books within a couple years, and then I moved on to inter-library loans and bookstores. And while I did read a lot of really good books, I also read a lot of books that followed the same predictable characters and the same predictable plots. I suppose that’s still true today, but the YA section is often a room (or even a floor!) instead of a corner now, and the YA selection in bookstores has expanded from a couple shelves to several aisles. It features vastly different characters experiencing vastly different things, and the possibilities seem to expand every day.

Which leads me into my next point…

It seems easier to find diverse YA than diverse adult novels (or maybe I’m just better at finding them)

There’s such a push for diverse YA books right now, and I absolutely love it. I feel like I can find diverse YA books much more easily than I can find diverse adult books — but maybe they’re just marketed better, or my libraries are better about buying them, or maybe I just follow the right accounts and know what I’m looking for. Regardless of how or why, I think this is a definite plus for YA.

A lot of YA books are really just… good

I tend to read a pretty wide variety of genres, and a lot of my favorite books of all time are YA. Jenn Bennett, Libba Bray, and Marissa Meyer are three YA authors that consistently put out really great YA books with really great stories. There are also deeper themes in a lot of YA, like Sadie, which is heartbreaking and amazing.

I have a whole page of favorite books, and a ton of them are YA.

They create really great opportunities for discussion

Even, or maybe especially, when I dislike a YA book, I think it’s important to talk about why. Sometimes the characters felt too young or I didn’t like the decisions they made, and in that case, I’ll usually do a quick mini-review about how that particular book wasn’t for me but I can see how the actual target demographic might enjoy it. But other times, there are really harmful messages hiding in YA books (see my review of Kings, Queens, and In-Betweens for an example) and there are some weird, or even difficult, conversations to have.

I get some nice feelings of nostalgia

My teenage years weren’t entirely rainbows and butterflies (are anybody’s?), but now that I’m a decade removed from them, I can look back with some rose-colored glasses and remember the really good parts. I love it when I read about a YA friend group that reminds me of my best friends from high school. I love it when I read a scene about an awkward first date that reminds me of my awkward first date. One of my favorite things about reading YA is the occasional nostalgia.


Did you do your own Top Ten Tuesday post today? Feel free to leave your link in the comments and I’ll check it out! Do you read YA? What do you love about it? Let’s talk in the comments!

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18 thoughts on “Top Ten Tuesday: Reasons why I love YA

  1. Laura Beth says:

    I love this post! I agree with a lot of what you said, especially how YA has improved! I don’t know about you, but Sarah Dessen used to be one of my favorite YA authors. Now – Not so much. I find that I’ve expanded my horizons quite a bit, too. Thanks for sharing!

    Like

  2. Em @ The Geeky Jock says:

    ALL THE YES! ๐Ÿ™‚

    The more I read YA, the more I question whether these books should be considered a “category” vs. a “genre”. Category would imply the 13-19 targeted age range. Genre (or, maybe meta-genre) would suggest something … else.

    Of course a lot of these books/authors have a teen audience in mind — evident by certain themes and stylistic features. But so much of modern YA — especially my preferred genre of SFF — features content that is definitely adult. (I would never suggest a book like Kingdom of Ash to a younger teen.) Or, if the content is teen-appropriate, there’s a lot of complexity (in characters, in plot, in themes) that adults might appreciate at a deeper level.

    … then there’s the fact that publishers keep pumping out special editions that are way outside the budget of a typical teen. (Like the $50 special edition Court of Thorns and Roses.)

    … and stats showing that more than half of YA readers identify as adults. (Only a foolish editor/publisher would look at readership statistics and say: “Hmm … yes! Let’s ignore more than 50% of our readers in order to make this book only appealing to 15-year-olds.”)

    My vote is for genre.

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  3. Iseult Murphy says:

    Wonderful post. I love YA. I donโ€™t get age restrictions in books. When I was a child I read adult books and children books. I still read adult, YA and childrenโ€™s books. A good story is universal. Different ages just take different things from the book.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Sahi says:

    Awesome post Sara.. completely agree with every single point of yours. But my top reason will also be that YA is easier to read ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜

    Like

  5. Susan says:

    Sometimes I am blown away by the level of vocabulary in YA, especially as a former educator. Other than that I completely agree with this list!

    Like

  6. Casey @ Tayside Book Blog says:

    I totally agree with you! I’m traditionally a horror reader, but really enjoy YA too (I’m in my 30s). I especially agree with your point in romance books about marriage and kids, I am childfree and there are virtually zero romance books directed at childfree by choice people. Anytime someone gets pregnant in one of those books it immediately becomes the most unsexy read. Why can’t people in these books just enjoy their lives together without kids, ugh.

    Like

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