You Should Read Young Adult Books Even If You’re an Adult
Do you identify as a “young adult”? No? Good, because neither do I. But that doesn’t mean you can’t or shouldn’t read books that are marketed towards young adult readers.
Typically, the protagonists in YA literature are teens from 12 to 18 years of age. There is another sub-genre called new adult, which would include the age group slightly above that.
The primary audience of these genres corresponds to the age span of the protagonists, but that doesn’t mean older readers can’t connect with them. Major hits like Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games prove that.
Many people think YA is nothing but cheesy romance stories with annoying tropes such as love triangles. But that’s not all there is!
Here are three reasons why you should read YA books even if you’re an adult:
1. Relatable Themes
Do you know that song by Bowling For Soup, “High School Never Ends”? The lyrics of the chorus go like this (stick with me, I promise I’ll get to the point):
The whole damn world is just as obsessed with who’s the best dressed and who’s having sex, who’s got the money, who gets the honeys, who’s kinda cute and who’s just a mess.
I’m 26 years old and so far, this seems completely true to me. People are always going to gossip about who’s dating whom, who’s got the more expensive car, who does and doesn’t have their shit together.
It’s sad, but it’s human.
Many YA books do revolve around relationships, be they romantic or amicable. But that’s what life is about, isn’t it? To be loved and accepted is a deeply human desire everybody can relate to.
2. Diversity and Representation
Diversity is one of the things I love most about YA. Recently, YA authors have really started to embrace diverse characters — much more than authors in other genres have.
The YA genre is an advocate for people who are racially, sexually, physically, and psychologically diverse. Some of my favourite protagonists in YA literature are gay, black, or female, some are fat, depressed, or have cancer.
I believe that the positive representation of diverse characters has immense value, especially for young people who are looking for role models and people to identify with.
3. Entertainment Value
If neither of the above arguments could convince you, here’s your final reason to read YA literature as an adult:
Young adult books are extremely entertaining.
They are also fun and easy to read. Unlike contemporary literary fiction, YA usually focusses more on the characters’ story rather than the literary value of every single sentence.
I don’t mean to say that YA is badly written — quite the contrary, actually. Most YA authors master the art of gearing their writing style towards their primary audience.
Their writing is captivating yet accessible to inexperienced readers. Most YA books are quick, easy, and entertaining reads, but nevertheless provide food for thought for readers of any age.
A Few Recommendations
By now, I hope to have convinced you that young adult literature is for you — no matter your age. If you want to dive into YA but don’t know where to start, here are a few quick recommendations:
- We Are the Ants by Shaun David Hutchinson (click here to read my recent review)
- The Fault In Our Stars by John Green
- The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli
Have fun reading, I’m sure you will enjoy the YA genre as much as I do!
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Please note: The book links above are Better World Books affiliate links. If you buy anything through those links, I will earn a small commission.