Monday, August 9, 2010

Fun Ranting Times

So, I've seen this link floating around several other YA blogs recently. Although I've developed an aversion to the New York Times because of its inability to report from an unbiased standpoint, I eventually decided to click and see what the fuss was about. Basically, it talks about how many adults now choose to read YA books in their free time rather than adult literature.

I've always thought of myself as an anomaly in this area- when I was in High School all my friends had already left YA lit behind in middle school, so I thought I was too old for it, even though I was technically still in the target age group. It wasn't until I discovered the book blogging universe that I realized there were other adults out there who choose to read YA not for their jobs, but for pleasure. It makes this quote

According to surveys by the Codex Group, a consultant to the publishing industry, 47 percent of 18- to 24-year-old women and 24 percent of same-aged men say most of the books they buy are classified as young adult. The percentage of female Y.A. fans between the ages of 25 and 44 has nearly doubled in the past four years. Today, nearly one in five 35- to 44-year-olds say they most frequently buy Y.A. books. For themselves.
all the more interesting. Where are these masses of 18-24 year olds reading YA lit? I'm in that group and I don't see my peers checking out that section of Barnes&Noble or any of the other bookstores in my town. When I'm riding the bus or subway I don't see other people perusing The Hunger Games. If the aforementioned numbers are actually accurate why can't I find a physical interest in YA, not just one on the internet?

My theory is that people are just too embarrassed to admit it, which the article touches on as well. Once in my Victorian Lit class we were talking about sensationalist novels and what the modern equivalents would be. Most people agreed that the most derided genres today are romance, sci-fi and YA, since they're all "aimed at people who are just reading for enjoyment rather than any wish to think". If this is the stigma that's attached to YA novels, why -would- adults admit to reading them? It's much more respectable to be seen reading the latest bestselling trade paperback. Save everything else for before you go to bed at night, when nobody's watching.

I'm rambling.

What I -INTENDED- to talk about is why I, personally, choose to read YA over books aimed at me. It's simple: I think they're more enjoyable. I like the characters more, the plots are more imaginitive and there's just more "entertainment value". If I'm reading for myself, that's what I'm going to go for, not some random novel about a depressed janitor going through his mid life crisis.

However, I also study literature and plan on being a librarian. I really love reading the classics and other 'thinking' books. The thing with me is, if it's literature but not a classic, I don't make time for it. There are so many universally acclaimed books still being printed after 200+ years that I don't want to spend my time reading a piece of adult lit that came out two years ago and everyone will have forgotten about in ten. If someone genuinely enjoys adult lit like I loves me my YA that's an entirely different story. But to say that one is more literary than the other? No. They'll pretty much ALL be out of print sooner or later.

To sum up, I have the same general attitude as the esteemed individual Eric Cartman.

"Whateva, whateva, I read what I want!"


  1. Totally agree about YA being more enjoyable (I often find that the 'deep' bestselling adult novels are so depressing!) Also agree that I don't see many 18-24 year olds wandering around the YA section of the bookstore, unfortunately.

    A Tapestry of Words

  2. That's really interesting. I've noticed that on the internet lately a lot of adults read YA fiction. I started switching to adult fiction around middle school and now I rarely read YA. I prefer reading super complicated books with gritty themes. (not surprising, right?) That's just me :P And I do feel like fantasy is the most underrated genre out there, even moreso than YA.

  3. Oh I forgot to say YAY FOR CARTMAN!!!

  4. I agree with you. In high school, I think I was the only one who actually still read ya lit. I always loved it. Sweet Valley High, The Babysitters Club and of course LJ Smith. But it is called young adult. I am young adult. I'm only 25. It does get me upset when people look at the things I am reading. UGH! Like I'm too old for it. Yes, I'm a mom and married but I am still in my twenties! Gosh now I'm rambling. I love YA lit. Plain and simple. Great post!!