Discussion: Are you too old to read and/or blog about YA books? What do you think of reading outside your age genre?

Hi dear friends,

This week I am back with another discussion topic: age and reading genre!

When I talk with colleagues or superiors and tell them that I am a book blogger they expect of me to read “very serious and adult” books.

When I explain that I read romance, their eyebrows go a smidge higher but when I say that I also read lots of YA (Young Adult) books it’s purely and simply incredulity that’s written on their faces!

I ALWAYS have to explain that YA stories are like little jewels and so much better and varied than what we had in our youth, and ….

Still…

It seems that since I am way over my teenage years I am expected to read only adult books.

But I don’t think you should only read “books your age”.

 

 

Here are my reasons why:

1) I was a teenager once.

Yes , yes I know this is hard to believe! Granted it’s been a long time but I do remember what it was like.

I can relate with the main characters and empathize with their struggle.

I had zits. I was clumsy. I was shy and doubted myself constantly. I also laughed with my girlfriends while admiring boys. Older boys because the others were just silly and annoying.

I ranted against teachers etc.

 

2) Reading YA books created a bridge with my own kids!

When I read a book in English that I found just brilliant I bought them the French translation and we discussed the book. Often they were “Mom, this is so cool! But tell me that he won’t die!”. At that point I asked them if they wanted spoilers or not LOL

 

3) YA makes for good debates

Many of these books broach important topics like crowd manipulation (the Hunger Games), racisme (The Hate U Give), homosexuality or bisexuality or … (Radio Silence); abuse (A List of Cages), mental illness (All the Bright Places), harassment (Heart on a  Chain), immigration and racisme (A Very Large Expanse of Sea; The Radius of Us), rape (Girl Made of Stars; Speak) etc.

They can help parents talking about these sensitive topics with their kids.

They can show the ugly side of the world but also how you can help others and not turn a blind eye.

 

4) Reading YA books give me a second youth

When I read I AM the hero or heroine. I live his or her life. I feel young again, energized. Aging and adulting suck! Young people let me tell you: enjoy your time now because later you’ll wish you had more fun.

Reading YA not only helps me to feel younger for some hours but it also helps me stay young of mind!

How would I know the problems of today’s youth if I did not read such books?

 

5) Most YA books are written by …adults!

So why shouldn’t other adults read them pray tell?

If adults can write them and be believable adults can read them too.

 

6) School asks of our teenagers to read “adult” books so why are they entitled to read outside of their age range and not us? This is a double standard!!!

I do believe that young people can also read mature books, even books with sex if they feel comfortable with it. Let’s be realistic here folks, our kids see porn on the net and they know for a looong time that babies don’t appear in cabbages or roses.

I’d rather have my kids read a smart and sensitive “adult” book describing explicit sex scenes in a respectful way, highlighting the importance of the feelings than have them binge crude porn on the net.

So if they can read adult books so do adult for YA books!

 

To conclude I’d say people who never read YA books are missing something and are probably biased. Personally, I feel less like a dinosaur 😀 

 

Now let’s chat! What do you think about reading and blogging outside your age range? Should I just read books about raising your kids and knitting sweater?

 

Thanks for reading!

 

Sophie

 

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43 Replies to “Discussion: Are you too old to read and/or blog about YA books? What do you think of reading outside your age genre?”

  1. YES, a million times yes! I love YA and my age, as an adult, shouldn’t ever dictate what I can and can’t read. Some of my all time favorite books ever are YA. Ohhh even TV shows. I’m currently binge watching The 100 and I’m obsessed! I say love what you love and don’t ever let others make you feel bad for being happy with finding what brings you so much joy in your life. ♥

  2. One of the best discussion I’ve read! Thank you so much for your post! I often feel ashamed that I read YA despite being 27. I’m afraid people will find me imature and juge me. I feel so good after reading you, thank you so much. Is that okay if I share your article?

  3. I’m 42 and read all kinds of books and always have. As a reviewer, I accidentally niched myself into kids’ books because of my nieces and nephews. I love YA reads!! They can be so much fun. ‘Light’, yet serious and even gritty at times. Besides, most reviewers, professional or amateur, are adults…. And these books need reviewing, yea?

    1. BewareOfTheReader says: Reply

      Totally! You are so right about the reviews and reviewers!

  4. OMG YES!! Thank you Sophie, from one “adult” to another. YA should be for everyone!!

    1. BewareOfTheReader says: Reply

      You are most welcome Meeghan!!

  5. At 45, I read almost all YA and MG, so you know I’m on your side on this one. I especially appreciate #3: I feel like YA explores so many important topics, and I love that!

    1. BewareOfTheReader says: Reply

      Exactly Nicole! These topics were non existent in “our” YA books! I find it fascinating how this literature evolved!

  6. I love YA. It reminds me of my own coming of age and I have to say I’m much more tolerant with today’s youth than I was ten or so years ago.

    1. BewareOfTheReader says: Reply

      Oh so it had that efect on you too Astrid?

  7. Excellent discussion post, Sophie. I think people should take a hike if they have an issue with what we want and love to read. In itself, I think genres are BS and that books shouldn’t be forced into certain categories. I also believe a lot of YA out there are greater than adult novels. Even if the intended target is young, the message is universal. And that’s what counts the most!

    1. BewareOfTheReader says: Reply

      I agree 100% with you Lashaan about the universal message! It really helped me to open my kid’s eyes and make sure they did not take everything at face value but make up their own mind!

  8. I totally agree with you, Sophie! When I tell people that I’m a book blogger they always assume something like classics, biographies, and nonfiction. Honestly, they’re boring! I think I’ll stick to the YA genre till I’m 60 because I read for fun and excitement not for boredom.
    Great post!

    1. BewareOfTheReader says: Reply

      hahahaha I hope I’ll stick to it even past 60 Raven! And yes they are fun and I read to evade, enjoying myself and taking my mind out of the dulls and sad topics of every day!

  9. I know books are usually aimed at a set audience, but does anyone really pay attention to the ages? I know I don’t. I buy kiddie books, YA and new adult, anything that grabs my attention. I’ve never stopped reading picture books because I’m a grown up, why should I? 😀

    1. BewareOfTheReader says: Reply

      You shouldn’t stop Alexandra! Not in my opinion anyway. I think as readers we have an avid mind and are interested in so many things that we just need to read and learn about them, whatever the topic or the age they are aimed at!

  10. Great post! I’m 33 and I love YA. I hate when people try to shame me for it. I read all ages, and indeed read a lot of adult stuff when I was a teenager, so why can’t I read younger now? There are just so many great YA stories out there and I just find what I want more often in YA than in adult books.

    1. BewareOfTheReader says: Reply

      Lindseay that’s also true for me about finding more of what I am looking for in YA than in adult books! Yet I need to switch to still love all genres 😉

  11. Tanya Atkinson says: Reply

    I’m a proponent for always reading exactly what you want to read. Book shamers be damned! I’ve never understand why some people feel the need to judge what others choose to read. Worry about yourself, why don’t you? LOL I read less YA now than I have in years past but that’s just a matter of changing tastes – and chances are in a few years I’ll start picking up more of it. A good story is a good story… no matter age range it was intended for.

    1. BewareOfTheReader says: Reply

      Shamers be damned! Oooh how I love the sound of these words Tanya!!!

  12. I’ve had a passion for reading ever since I first learned how. I’m over 50 and still devouring books. Any genre. Any age category!

    1. BewareOfTheReader says: Reply

      I think that’s the secret to stay young in mind and sharp Laura!

  13. I think that reading should always be something that gives us pleasure. My philosophy has always been to read what I find interesting and compelling, no matter the genre. I find that YA provides so much insight into the world that I pick up titles just to become more aware. I also agree with you that it does bridge a gap between adults and kids. Awesome discussion post!

    1. BewareOfTheReader says: Reply

      Thank you Lori! And yes about giving us insight as it moves so fast and the teens have their own culture. We should not forget that they are our future!

  14. Honestly, I feel like the age-groups like MG/YA should not categorise what age groups one must belong to read them but the minimun age you must be to read them.
    As you pointed out, YA books deal with a lot of important topics and they are just fantastic!

    1. BewareOfTheReader says: Reply

      That’s a very interesting remark about characterizing the minimum age group Jayati! Indeed I tend to interpret the genres that way and honestly except if they invent a new genre for people above sixty I am fortunately at the age where I could read any genre! I guess getting old has it perk LOL

  15. I’m 48 and not only do I read YA, I also read MG and Children’s books… and I don’t even have kids! I just tell people I read great books, it doesn’t matter what age group it’s written for, when a book is well written anyone can relate to it.

    1. BewareOfTheReader says: Reply

      That’s exactly the spirit here! You should not feel bad for reading books other don’t want to or are biased about!

  16. The first argument I always have for people, who claim I should read within my age is #6. In my teens, almost every book I read featured a predominately adult cast, and the book dealt with very adult topics in very adult ways. I was allowed to read older, but now, I am told I cannot read younger? That’s garbage talk. Like you, I started reading YA again to have something to talk about with my daughter. I kept reading it, because it’s a fun way to look back, and it gives me an opportunity to see things through a teen lens.

    1. BewareOfTheReader says: Reply

      It seems to me that we have a very similar book journey Sam!

  17. I’m 41 and read mostly YA. What’s funny is that I read mostly adult books starting around 12 and then went to YA around the time Twilight got popular. I still read a lot of adult back then, too, but now it’s only a handful a year. I love YA for all the reasons you mentioned above. And I agree with you. While I’m old, I enjoyed my teens/early 20’s and love the reminders. I love the diversity in YA. I love the heavier topics (though I totally understand those that don’t). I still like adult thrillers and fantasy. But not so much the contemporary. I’ve read too many divorce and cheating on your spouse stories and they just don’t make me happy. I don’t think age should be a deciding factor on what someone reads. YA is where I’ve found my home, at least for now.

    1. BewareOfTheReader says: Reply

      I followed the same path here! I read “adult” stories at 12 because I had no money and my dad was a huge reader so I had an endless supply of books! It was mostly crime, spy stories, historical but never romance! Then I began reading YA with …Harry Potter (which is more a MG but still…) and Twilight! I was intrigued by all the buzz and I fell into it. Then it was The Hunger Games and I never receovered. Now I’d say I read 50 YA and 50% adult more or less. I need to switch genres to still view each book with fresh eyes 😉

      1. That’s really cool. My mom had all the VC Andrews stuff that she let me read at 12. So it was a bit odd with the topics for me. But I liked them a lot at the time.

  18. Yes!!! I totally agree we should get to read all the books!!!! 😀 Great points! I especially liked #5 which I hadn’t really considered before

    1. BewareOfTheReader says: Reply

      Well Brittany as I was sometimes bored out of my mind reading these (often) adult and very formal books (old French writers can really use flourishes) it sticked with me and I thought: if I was expected to read them at that time of my life, why wouldn’t adults take a step my way too?

  19. I agree, there’s no age limit for reading and talking and blogging about books! I do get annoyed when adult bloggers talk about the things they didn’t like as if they are the intended audience, though. (I do this sometimes too I think!) It’s important to remember that these books aren’t written for us. It doesn’t mean our opinions on them aren’t valid, but I think it’s something we should at least keep in our mind as we are assessing the quality of a book.

    1. BewareOfTheReader says: Reply

      That’s a very pertinent remark Katie! I do tend to forget the audience too but yes these books are meant first for teenagers or young adults who do view the world differently than us!

  20. I couldn’t agree more on all the different arguments you make!

    1. BewareOfTheReader says: Reply

      Thank you!! It seems we are on the same page 😉

  21. I love YA and always will. I think it’s dull if we all did what’s expected of us and if we’re ‘expected’ to read YA only when we’re YA then surely only YA’s should write them too?! Makes no sense.

    Sometimes I read YA that I feel could have been fleshed out more as a story if it was an adult story but at times like that I just wonder if it’s my individual tastes that are changing and not necessarily a sign to stop reading YA. There are so many great themes in so many great YA books and some of my favourite books are YA when I really stop to think about it.

    A lot of epic movies are also based on YA books and people don’t complain about going to see those 😉

    1. BewareOfTheReader says: Reply

      Excellent point about the movie Gerry! And sometimes I’ve read characters written by very young authors (like Margaret Rogerson) who feel even better fleshed out than older authors! I think you must read what floats your boat and mood!

  22. I’m almost 57 and I still love to read YA!!!!

    1. BewareOfTheReader says: Reply

      hahahah nearly 50 and the same Susan!

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