YA fiction (Young Adult fiction for those not familiar with the term) is one of my favourite genres. I’m fairly certain that I don’t fall into the ‘Young Adult’ category anymore (*sniff*) but that doesn’t mean I can’t read the books.
Indeed, people who look down their noses at others for reading YA (or even Children’s fiction) are just silly in my opinion. You should be able to read what you like and just because a book is written with a certain audience in mind (16-25 year olds in this case) doesn’t mean that other people won’t enjoy it or get something out of it.
YA fiction covers many of the same subjects as ‘Adult’ fiction does and the line between the two is often hard to distinguish. Yes, some YA fiction is ‘easy reading’ as an adult but by no means is that a rule for everything. Nor is it a bad thing – everybody enjoys an easy read every now and then.
Many of my favourite books are YA fiction – several of which I read after I was 25. A lot of the books featured in this Book Alphabet have been YA – The Graceling Realm Series, The Daughter Of Smoke And Bone Trilogy and Forbidden are just three examples.
I love the diversity in the YA genre – there is everything from horror to romance via sci-fi and historical fiction – and the books often test boundaries and challenge you to think about yourself and other people in new ways. The target audience is of an age where they are finding their feet as individuals and really beginning to work out who they are so it opens the door to all manner of topics. There are some amazing YA novels tackling gender and sexual-orientation, religion and beliefs and many other ‘coming-of-age’ subjects that make you reconsider your own thoughts and ideas even as an adult. Lies We Tell Ourselves by Robin Talley is a brilliant example of a YA novel that is historical fiction which tackles racism, religion and sexual-orientation head on – a novel I think a lot of adults could benefit from reading, not just teenagers.
I fairly recently introduced my Mum to some YA series in genres she wouldn’t normally touch with a barge-pole (fantasy and sci-fi) and she’s loved them. They aren’t full of themselves or trying to be better than anything else, they aren’t literary or super-clever but they are fun to read, engaging and entertaining which, really, is what you want from a book more often than not.
There are many gems hidden under the umbrella of YA fiction and yes, much like every other genre, there’s some rubbish out there but there is nothing to be ashamed of reading YA fiction when you aren’t a ‘young adult’ by definition.