I've wanted to write a post about this for some time now, but I was having the hardest time putting into words why I’m an adult reading young adult novels. So I did what everyone else does in 2015 and I posted to Facebook, asking questions like do you read young adult? Why or why not? If you do, what do you enjoy about YA? If you don’t, what is different about adult novels? I read through all the responses, nodding and smiling through most of it. Because of those responses, my own thoughts have been clarified enough for me to attempt to blog about them.
To start, I’ll throw out there that I’m 28 years old and I mostly read young adult novels, with the occasional new adult thrown in and, rarely, an adult novel. This is how it’s been for about six years now, since I rediscovered my love for reading when I picked up Twilight. I know, I know. Twilight?! Yes. It doesn't matter what you think of the series, but it did get me back into passionately reading and devouring books the way I did when I was younger, which is all I need to love and respect the fandom.
So what is the appeal that keeps me hanging out with fictional teenagers? Well, they haven’t got it all figured out. They are still learning about themselves, still growing and discovering the world around them, and they are doing it during one of the most emotionally fluctuating times in their lives. Because I read a lot of YA romance, I’ll also throw out there that they are falling in love for the first time and those are some powerful emotions that I can relate to.
Let’s look at my life a bit. I met my first real boyfriend in high school. First kiss, first love, and all that fluffy stuff. We ended up getting married just after I graduated and we started our lives together. Now, eleven years after we started going out, eight and a half years of marriage, and two kiddos later, it’s a refreshing reminder to get caught up in all those emotions all over again while reading someone else’s story. It’s wonderful, really, to be able to reminisce what it was like to fall in love with my best friend. For me, it takes me back to the same sorts of memories that are unlocked with certain familiar aromas. What is more magical than that?
When I posted about this, I also asked what are some of the most annoying things other people have said to them when they learned they read YA. I was pleasantly surprised to see that none of these people were really given a hard time, unless Twilight was thrown around somewhere in there. But I think this Buzzfeed post is still one of my favorites in addressing the annoying things people can say about young adult. Remember, young adult isn’t a genre or an audience level. It’s an indication of the characters’ age ranges.
The last question I asked was what book recommendation(s) they would offer as an introduction into the wonderful world of YA for an adult who wanted to try it out. With the help of a few of my most trustworthy book friends, here’s a list along with Goodreads links. Thanks to my book twin, Lynn, they are all broken down into categories. I have marked the ones I've actually read with an asterisk (*).
Historical fiction- A Spy In The House by Y.S. Lee. It's the first book of a whole series.
Fantasy- Harry Potter*, though it is also considered MG
Illusions of Fate by Kiersten White
Aerenden* by Kristen Taber
Science Fiction- Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card
Dystopian- Hunger Games* by Suzanne Collins
Unwind by Neal Shusterman
Uglies* by Scott Westerfelf
Divergent* by Veronica Roth
Delirium* by Lauren Oliver
Magical Realism- Bruiser by Neal Shusterman
Scorpio Races* by Maggie Stiefvater
Paranormal/Supernatural- Pivot Point by Kasie West
The Mortal Instruments* by Cassandra Clare
Contemporary Fiction/romance- Ask Again Later by Liz Czukas
The Distance Between Us* by Kasie West
Book Clubbers wanting to read something with their teen: Something Real by Heather Demetrios
The List by Siobhan Vivian
Issue books- The Fault In Our Stars* by John Green
Thirteen Reasons Why* by Jay Asher
Eleanor & Park* by Rainbow Rowell
Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
LGBT- Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz
Do you read young adult? Why or why not? What are some books you would recommend to others interested in getting into YA?
P.S. I have to do this, even though this post is long enough already ;) One of my writing inspirations, Cindy Thomas, is releasing her first book on April 13th! You can now preorder BECKON ME on Amazon! Don't forget to add it on Goodreads and check out Cindy Thomas on Facebook, Twitter, and her website!