Sunday, June 1, 2014

Confessions: YA is Not My Cup of Joe

Confessions of an Insomniac Book Devourer #5

There is a growing trend of adults beginning to read books written with young adults in mind, so much so that it has even been mentioned on national news. In this vast movement, there is a sense of comradery and like-mindedness amongst its people: blogs have been made, Goodreads groups founded, and a whole community solidly instilled.

I am not among them. YA is just not my cup of coffee. Although I do critique it from time to time, those are mostly of books I read as a teen. I kind of wish I was an adult fan of YA, because the people of the movement are lovely and amazing, and have every right to read PG-13 books if they please. But I grew out of young adult books roughly four years ago.

Let me elaborate:
When I was a teen, I had real friends I could see on the weekends, but during the week, I relied on my book-friends, as I was in a homeschool-type situation. Harry Potter, Hermione Granger, Ron Weasley, Aerin the Dragonslayer, Princess Thirrin, Maerad, and Kaye the edgy faerie could visit me during the week, any time I wanted, without the bane of social media to talk through. I was not a rich girl, so buying new books had to be done with great thought, and the library in my city was a mess at the time, so I didn't use it. Instead, many times I reread my YA library, which was bigger than many of my friends' book collections, due to the money I spent building it. I would take those books with me everywhere during the week, often sitting in the waiting room of whatever doctor I was seeing that day's office, as I had a multitude of health issues during my teen years.

Gradually, when I was about 16, I began reading "adult" books instead of my library of young adult, and a funny thing happened. I felt like a whole new world was opened. You see, in many YAs, there is an ever-prevalent coming of age tale, but often the problems of the characters didn't equate with my problems. When you have physical pain most every day, and all the doctors in your region are baffled as to what the cause is, you don't want to read about some healthy, pain-free girl whining about how her life sucks because she has no boyfriend and a "v-card". You want to hear about people who have more meaningful struggles, which is why I often gravitate towards fantasy and sci-fi. And while the YA genre has many great fantasy and sci-fi books, often I still found the characters angsty over things that didn't matter to me.

As soon as I turned 18, I began giving away much of my young adult collection. I felt freed from the genre I spent my painful teen days reading, and I was quite ready to read any and all adult books I could get my hands on. I currently only have YA books were my favorites, but better yet, I've found new favorites in the adult genre.

And so, when I heard of adults reading YA, I became confused. Why would people want to go back to YA, having tasted the forbidden fruit of adult books? Did they enjoy the simplicity? The static coming of age themes? The boyfriends and v-cards and gossip? I did, after much cajoling, read The Hunger Games, having been pushed to read it by my older brother, and found it was really good, for its genre, but I won't be reading a lot of YA anytime soon. I still find it not my cup of joe, though I do continue seeking out new worlds to delve into, and sometimes consider young adult books for reading, it is not my mainstay.

If you limit yourself to YA on Amazon, there are 54,217+ options, but considering there are about twice as many Sci-fi and Fantasy books, it truly becomes a limited selection. I believe you should read whatever you want, whenever you want to, and it covers a vast majority of taboos, including adults reading YA. But it's good to remember there are a multitude of other genres out there, just waiting to convert you.

P.S. Although this blog is an ode to worlds of the written word (fantasy, sci-fi, historical, paranormal, classics, etc.), I read pretty much every genre. My mind requires a range of reading exercises not limited to the genres I blog about.

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