Friday, June 6, 2014

Yes, I'm an adult who still reads YA

Some of you may have recently read an article on Slate.com titled "Against YA" by Ruth Graham. It was certainly an interesting read, but I can't get on board with it.

The overall message of the article is that if you're an adult who still reads YA, there is something wrong. As an adult, we should eschew anything that isn't written for the intelligent adult (and, if I'm guessing based on tone, there is a subset of fiction that is still less-than). I'm an adult, I have a full-time job, and I read a variety of literature. That includes a love of YA books. Why is it that I have to be judged for enjoying what I read? Why does this author feel the need to force emotions upon me. How does it benefit anyone to shame me into giving up a genre I connect with, and enjoy?

The author asserts that the reason I, as a twenty-something, read YA falls into three categories. The author believes that it's either nostalgia, escapism (isn't all reading some form of escapism?), or instant gratification. Yes, I have 90's nostalgia, but the books that I read rarely create that yearning in me. The author seems to believe that because these books depict and cater to teens, they are, by nature, unsatisfying and unworthy. That she didn't cry while reading The Fault in Our Stars because it just wasn't good enough. Couldn't we chalk that up to individual preference?

Why should we shame those who read? Why not embrace YA and read more than a handful of books before stereotyping an entire genre? If being an adult means that I pass judgement on others, and embrace an air of superiority in any aspect of my life, then we are no better than the way some teens view us. We pass judgement on them, tell them their emotions are less valid because they are still young, and that their literature is less than. Not I!

For some fabulous reading by my local indie owner, check out her response from Publisher's Weekly. She's created a fabulous anti-anti-YA list that everyone can enjoy. View it here.

5 comments:

krystina said...

Some of the 'greats' if they were written now would be categorized as YA. Stephen King's IT for one and Koontz's Watchers for another. A good read is a good read. Personally though I'm not a fan of these new 'labels' to be put on fiction - genres are more than enough.

Antonia Jujnović said...

Well said!!!

magicamagi said...

The Hobbit is middle grade mwahahahahah

Jokes apart, this stuff makes me angry.

Posted my own answer and made it public on my faccebook page > https://www.facebook.com/ana.eileen.7/posts/1618735661685726

And poster your own article and the other you mentioned, also public.

Feel free to read my answer if u want. Ps. : I am a translator. Of both YA and adult books, and some adult books make me roll eyes more much more than YA-middle grade ones arch - disgusting people.

Ana Death Duarte

Juju at Tales of Whimsy.com said...

I don't read YA anymore but as you know I did for YEARS. Welllll into adulthood. Like till I was 36.

People like her piss me off.

We need to encourage readers to read whatever makes them happy.

Who is she to judge?

Readers choose, in a world full of distractions, to read the written word. That deserves a BRAVO not a lecture.

Nostalgia = Yah who doesn't want that?
escapism = isn't that a biggie for most fiction readers?
instant gratification = was my favorite part of YA. No need for all the extra fluff adult fiction sometimes adds.

So yah, Ruth should go back to reading.

Juju at Tales of Whimsy.com said...

Side note: If all I got to read was what she deemed "literature" appropriate for adulthood, I would probably give up reading.

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