Recently there has been a lot of talk on the internet/Twitterverse with people expressing their opinion on YA Literature. Whether that's in the form of; stating what age should be reading it, or saying that some people shouldn’t, or people feeling out of place because of these discussions.
I have seen Booktubers getting slated because they like to read YA. Adults are being told to give books to a teen because that’s who they’re written for. Teens saying they feel like they don’t have a “space” on the internet when it comes to YA Books. (I don’t even know what that means). And anyone over the age of 20 feels like they’re being pushed out and told they shouldn’t be reading YA because they aren’t in the 12-18 age bracket.
It is preposterous. So I am raising my voice to tell you what it means to me.
As An Author:
Considering I write YA and NA, to me they are just ways to categorise my books depending on the age of my main character. That doesn’t mean people shouldn’t read them because they aren’t the same age as that said character. That doesn’t mean if I write a character who’s 18/19 I don’t want people aged 11-15 to read it. If you like the sound of the book, pick it up, enjoy it if it suits your reading preferences.
My books aren’t YA or NA because of who I think should be reading it. They are in that genre bracket because of the age of my protagonist. Because of the language of the story, and the themes and trials they go through. Not because only certain ages can read them.
As an author, I don’t care what age my readers are, just as long as they enjoy the book I have written. I would never dream of telling any of my readers to give the book to someone else because they aren’t the target age range. I’m happy that someone wants to read it in the first place.
As A Reader:
Hell, if I want to read an MG or YA where the protagonist is younger than me, I will. And anyone who tells me I can’t can go hide in the black hole they have created for themselves. When I pick up a book and read the blurb, I tend to skim over any ages because at the end of the day, does it really matter how old the person in the book is? If the story sounds great, and I want to read it - who says I can’t?
It really irks me that people think the target audience is the be-all and end-all of who should be reading a book. Books are for everyone, and yes there are books out there which throw expletives and go into much more detail which means they have age restrictions on them. BUT ultimately, if you want to read a book, regardless of genre, target audience age range and what is expected, you read that goddamn book.
I love watching Booktubers because they get so excited about the books that are talking about and it makes me want to pick them up. They are enablers of the best kind.
As A Blogger:
Now, I don’t exclusively read and review YA. I don’t exclusively read and review any genre. I find book covers that draw me to the book, and the blurb will either convince me to purchase or put the book down and move on to the next. I write reviews about books I have read because that’s what I love.
I love reading, I love immersing myself in other peoples fictional worlds and I love discussing them with other people. Whatever their age, as long as they love a book - we pretty much have loads to talk about.
The thought of someone feeling like they can’t blog, or talk or do anything relating to books because they don’t have space or aren’t up for awards or anything really saddens me. You have your own corner of the internet and someone somewhere will go to your blog to read what you write about. They want to know what books you’re reading and what your thoughts are on them because it influences their decision for which books to buy next or what authors to look out for.
I started a poll on twitter and while I know the results are based on the audience reach the number of retweets it got, I wasn’t surprised to find that out of 721 votes 81% of them were readers of age 20 plus.
What YA Means To Me:
Young Adult fiction is enjoyable for me to read because a lot of the time you don’t have to know the age of the character to enjoy the story. It’s about a character who either has or hasn’t got family and ends up going on an exciting adventure. They fall in love, experience loss and battle monsters - which is what we do in our everyday lives. Most of the stories, especially fantasy, creates epic adventures that we like to fall into on a Sunday afternoon.
To me, YA novels are the perfect way to unwind and relax. They allow you to escape the stresses of everyday life. For me, as someone in my twenties, that’s the stress of work, the stress of writing, editing, and publishing books and the stress of health issues.
In my personal opinion, I don't think there should be a divide when it comes to the genre of a book, because everyone, teens and adults alike, should be able to read and enjoy books. We should be able to discuss our favourite ones together and not feel subjected because of "age".
- Yes, most people feel YA is written for teens, or with teens in mind.
- Yes, that is totally fine.
- Yes, adult readers can read it too.
- Yes, teen YA Bloggers should have a voice and be heard.
- Yes, everyone can enjoy books no matter what the genre or target audience.
- No, bloggers and readers shouldn’t feel they are not allowed to read something because it doesn’t ‘fit’ their age.
- No, bloggers and readers shouldn’t feel segregated because of age genres.
- No, it’s not okay to belittle ANYONE because of their reading choices.
Of course this is just my opinion and honestly, I think the whole discussion needs to be put to bed. The long and short of it is - anyone can read anything they like.