As a reader I try to expand to as many genres as I possibly can, from Romance and Humor to Thriller and Horror but I’ve always been a fan of Young Adult. It was the genre that got me into reading after all and I still enjoy diving back into that world pretty often. But reading YA as an adult is sometimes frowned upon by others who categorize the genre as “not real books”.

You know you’re an adult when your thoughts begin with “back then” and then you just want to crawl somewhere and never interact with young people again. I was having a conversation the other day that went just like that and I thought to myself, I was reading a YA book just last week, what the fuck happened? I enjoy reading Young Adult and even if I don’t read it as much or relate to the characters as I did a few years ago, I am not going to stop any time soon.

Truth is YA books are fun to read, they are quick and light and like a nice Sunday afternoon, they are just what a bookworm needs at the end of the day to unwind and chill. YA is awesome because it’s familiar, and familiar is always welcomed.

read a real book

Just because Young Adult books are a mix of tropes thrown together, that doesn’t make them non-books or easy to write/read. You need to stop telling people to read real books when they tell you they read YA. Books are books, there’s not a measurement to see how real a book is. YA is an important part of a reader’s life. Each book that one reads is sacred and there’s a process that needs to be followed. As kids we start from fairy-tale and bedtime stories and we go from there. Imagine giving a child Game of Thrones to read, they’ll probably use it as a ladder to reach another book from a shelf. I remember as a kid the Harry Potter books looked huge in my tiny hands and they took me weeks to finish and that felt like such an accomplishment, looking at it and saying, I read that. Go me!

That being said, as an adult, reading YA has its ups and downs. For example I will have fun reading it but my mind will make some very strong arguments that are too real sometimes and ten years ago I would not have thought any of them.

awkward alert

When the book you’re reading involves an 18-year-old and you find yourself swooning but at the same time questioning everything because OMG he’s eighteen and that’s younger than my little brother and why am I reading this????

education is important

Every time I read a book about teens saving the world but completely messing their education, the teacher in me dies a bit, I won’t lie. I mean saving the world is nice and all and very important but they’ll probably end up being the ones who can’t spell they’re, their, there and should of instead of should have. *pulls hair* STOP CONFUSING THOSE!

listen to your parents

Nothing screams I’M OLD when you read a YA and nod along in agreement with the parents in the book. NOTHING. Again, if your child is off slaying bad guys and saving the world some things take a back seat but homework needs to be done and bedtime needs to be respected because kids don’t appreciate how precious sleep is, take a jacket, be careful and eat your vegetables, kid!

unfair beauty standards

Show me a teenager who didn’t have to deal with acne, body hair suddenly appearing over night, period cramps, braces, awkward hairdos and awful fashion sense that have been permanently captured by your mom and displayed somewhere. SHOW YOUR FACE! *points to every YA book* GET THE FUCK OUT! That awkward teen phase seems to have skipped a generation and frankly, it’s unfair.

Fearless = BS

Okay this one is serious. As a teen I wanted to consider myself pretty fearless, I didn’t have to deal with the Dark Lord or fight for my life or save to Earth who seems to always be in trouble but I was not. Teens are little shits that need permission to stay out past curfew and when you see a missed call from your mom you literally hope the Earth explodes because nothing will save from an angry mom.  Yes, of course reading about a fearless teen is awesome and teens love it but keep it real at least, put some effort into it and write a teen who gets scared once in a while, trust me, we’ve all been there.

YA influence

If you’re the kind of person who judges other because they read YA, newsflash: your kid will read Young Adult and you’ll probably want to pre-read to see what kind of material the books contain, which is totally understandable so don’t hate a book which will influence your kid in the future and shape the way they think, react and maybe even lead their life. Sounds like a lot of pressure to put on a book but that’s what books do, they shape a young person’s life, I know the books I read did – hell, even reading shaped who I am today. I have friends who don’t read who can’t even imagine why I love it so much and I have friends who read just as much as I do – trust me, I see how reading affects people. Reading is powerful and it’s a little magical. We say you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover but you shouldn’t judge it by its genre either.


Do you read YA? Have you ever been judged for it?

26 thoughts on “READING YA AS AN ADULT”

  1. I get the read “REAL BOOKS” thing all the time! Or – YA is cute but I like books with substance.

    I’m in my 50’s and I still read YA. It’s like any other book – some are written well and some aren’t.

    I do find myself worrying more about the teens though when they do dangerous things instead of being able to go with the flow and I’m not even a parent lol

    The other thing I’ve noticed is when books talk a lot about social media especially YouTube culture I just don’t get it. I’m oooooold *cries*

    For What It’s Worth
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  2. Love this, Kei! You nailed it – with humor, as always. 🙂 I have to face it, it was still the 80’s when I was last a teenager. (The very late 80’s, but still… ) But despite the fact that I could have teenagers of my own (and older) had I chose to go the motherhood route, I still maintain my love of YA. Sure there are times when something there will make me roll my eyes. But it’s also a good reminder of how important and life-altering everything seemed at that time. I love the comment about all the fearless teens when in reality (you are so right!) every teen I knew would cower when faced when an angry mom! LOL Regardless of the tropes, or the occasional disconnect, I don’t see me losing my love of YA anytime soon. 🙂
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  3. My husband laughs at me when I read YA, because he is like well that’s for children. I read them because I have a child and I want to know what books I feel will be okay for them to read. I don’t feel all YA is awesome and amazing for teens. I do have issues with books that pain adults as evil and not just one, but all of them. Growing up I never felt that way about my parents. Raising a teen is hard enough, having them read a book that has these kind of themes I feel like it will just make it worse. But that is my opinion.
    I never had anyone tell me to read a real book before XD my kid is too young to read middle grade let alone ya, but I want him reading books eventually, and I do work with teenagers so… yeah.. I get to kind of dip my toe and ask them how they feel.
    I agree with the awkward factor. I do love YA romances at times because it’s all like oh aww he likes her….
    But than it’s like oh eak… he is kind of young and I am reading about this girl drooling over him. Get’s weird XD still, they are fun, light and pretty easy to read. I love using them to get out of my reading slumps.

  4. I agree that a lot of people seem to be overly harsh and judge-y about adults that still like to read YA books. I’m 32 and I still really love some YA books and find the characters swoon-worthy at times. lol! I think it’s because when I read I sort of let myself become the characters or it makes me think back to that time, so it’s really my teenage self crushing on the MCs. lol! I do have to admit that there are some differences in YA too…sometimes they seem to be written MUCH younger and other times much more mature.
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  5. Honestly I’ve never seen these people who say YA isn’t a real book? Like, I see people talk about those people all the time lol, but I guess I’m good at staying away from drama. It’s definitely real though—every book is a real book! But yeah, it’s different reading YA as an adult since you notice things you wouldn’t have as a teen, you sometimes agree with the parents lol, stuff like that. I also sometimes get annoyed with immaturity and then have to remind myself that they’re teenagers, and teenagers do do immature things and whatnot. So yeah, it’s not bad to read YA as an adult, just different!
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  6. I can relate this so much to this post Kei! Because I love YA, I love it over Adult books because I can relate to it more – does that mean I don’t think of myself as an adult? Not really. Well, actually, maybe a little. I don’t think of myself as a teenager, but more like a young adult. However I guess I’m not technically a young adult either since I’m 27. Argh, it’s so hard to pin down my feelings about my age!

    I hate being judged for reading YA, but whenever anyone asks what I’m reading I always cringe and only vaguely tell them. I feel like I’m embarrassed about admitting I’m reading a YA because I know they will judge me. But then I think about it and I realise, how do I know that they’re going to judge me negatively? I don’t know that. Most people that ask me what I’m reading don’t read much themselves. And when I tell them I’ve never had a reaction where they’ve judged me for it.

    Arghh it’s so true that YA characters mostly seem to look incredibly beautiful, and they never seem to have to deal with puberty. Haha it’s so awkward when you’re swooning over the love interest in the books! I always age the characters in my head so I don’t feel weird about it lol.

  7. Adults should be able to read YA books without a big deal being made of it. With the popularity of series like Harry Potter and The Hunger Games or standalone novels like The Fault in Our Stars, adults are really a big segment of YA readership. I even have library patrons in my book club who are reading teen books and they are in their 80s but their grandkids recommend books to them! I wish people would just get over that whole concept that YA books aren’t real or aren’t worthy of reading if you’re over the age of 18.

    Like you, I also think my reading experience is affected by the fact that I am an adult. Sometimes it makes me shake my head at the behavior of the teen characters, especially the angsty ones. I think those are the YA books that are more authentic in depicting teen behavior though. Then there are those books where the teens act and talk like much older adults (John Green for example) or are written in a way that they are meant to appeal to adults more than teens (a lot of the “award winner” teen books are that way).

    I’m glad you read and enjoy teen fiction and it’s really no one else’s business to say what you should be reading! Teen fiction has a lot to offer. I love teen fantasy novels and when I want something light to read, I turn to teen contemporary romance. Nice post!
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  8. I guess I used to be one of those people. But then, I had the unfortunate experience of reading ALL THE WRONG YA books.. Lol. You know, the bad ones? With the really horribly exploited tropes, girl on girl hate, plain silly and boring, cheap vampires or zombies? Like, literally, every YA book I picked up back then (I mean like 5 years ago-ish) was truly a terrible book. And I was actually so unlucky with them, that I read quite a few and they were ALL terrible like that. At that point I just decided it’s a load of bull and I’m never going to waste my time on something so judgemental and stupid. Felt like cheap Mexican romantic dramas to me!

    But then I started blogging. And when you do, you just can’t NOT be exposed to all the YA books, cause they’re all the rage, it seems. So I talked to people, and it became apparent to me that maybe I was just horribly unlucky with what I read? And maybe YA books came a long way since then? I’ve actually read a few already, and they were good!

    So it seems as though people might be discrediting YA because, unfortunately, there IS a lot of bad YA (like any other book genre, for that matter!) That’s why it’s probably thought of like that, that’s my theory.

    I especially love those little annoying things about YA that you listed!! They’re so good 😀 even when I was still almost a teen (or barely out of my teens), I rolled my eyes at many of them. Like the unfair beauty? Oh god, that’s such a bad influence to kids. It’s NOT OKAY to keep saying that women are always perfect! We’re human, we do NOT go around the post-apocalyptic world without skin or hair problems! Jesus, that one infuriates me 😀

    This is such a great post 🙂
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    1. Oh for sure there are tons of bad YA books out there, as much as I love the genre I have to be honest; over used tropes and flat characters are out there and yes that’s what’s making YA look bad. But that comes with the number of YA being published, we can’t possibly expect all of them to be good, it’s insane and a lot of bad ones are successful too. Glad you’re enjoying the genre, blogging and GR are great places to get exposed to more books!
      Kei @ The Lovely Pages Reviews recently posted…Roar by Cora CarmackMy Profile

  9. I ADORE YA. I have read YA books since I was in middlegrade and I’ve never stopped.

    Ha ha – I’ve never REALLLLLY thought about the awkward swooning over an 18 year old part – but I definitely will be on my next read. So thanks for that. 😉

    The parents part as well – I can relate to that…. What HAPPENED TO ME?

    Also, I love this:
    ‘Reading is powerful and it’s a little magical’. #Quotable

    Great post!
    Di @ Book Reviews by Di recently posted…The Blog Squad: A Blogger Collaboration Part XIIMy Profile

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