Let’s Chat! Reading YA as an… adult?

Hey everyone!

So, today I’m going to broach a topic that comes up once in a while on the blogosphere, though it is something that I haven’t talked about officially here on Sophie’s Corner. Until today.

First things first: Guys, a little mini confession here.

I’m a… *gulp*

Adult?

(Psst…. the question mark is there because despite paying my rent and working a full-time job and taking care of one or more dogs for quite some years now, sometimes I still feel like I am faking it. For all the adults out there, when does adulting end?! Please tell me!!)

The thing is, although I am an adult age-wise, I still read YA books. And part of me wonders if I should graduate from YA books, just like how you would graduate from the multiplication table after grade school, mandatory gym classes after high school, exams and all-nighters after university, etc etc etc. But no matter how much I try to read books in the adult genre, I always gravitate towards YA books.

That being said, in the past year or so, I’ve been feeling conflicted about YA books. Despite my love for the genre, there are some aspects that annoy me, that makes me wonder if I’ve outgrowing this genre.

Today I’m going to talk a bit about why I still read YA: the things that I love about the YA genre, and…. (unfortunately) some aspects of the genre that get on my nerves.

What I love about YA

1: It’s light-hearted.

There are exceptions of course, but I love that there are some fluffy, light-hearted YA reads out there that I know are guaranteed to be fun and fast-paced reads.

2: It’s not too serious.

Along a similar note, I find that books in the adult genre tend to be very heavy and serious and… it’s too much. Being an adult is HARD. You got to drag your butt (pardon my French) to work and do chores and take care of dependents (children, dogs, and otherwise) and I read to get away from all that.

3: YA books can be super funny.

I love the sense of humour in the YA books that I read (especially the YA contemporary genre.) Sometimes we could all use a good laugh! For some reason I don’t find the adult books I read to be as funny?

4: I feel young again?

Saying this makes me feel old lol πŸ™‚ But then again, youth is a state of mind!

5: The faster pacing!

I am super impatient and the number one reason that I DNF books is because of slow pacing. One of the things that I love about YA books is that they tend to be faster paced, and they keep my attention.

6: The focus on relationships

What I love about the YA contemporary genre specifically is that romances tend to be sweet and adorable. I also like that there is often focus on other relationships such as family and friendships without getting too heavy.

7: Diverse representation (LGBTQ+, mental health, various cultures and ethnicities, etc)

I can’t speak much about adult fiction in this aspect since I haven’t read much adult fiction in general, but I really love that there is so much diversity in YA fiction. In fact it’s becoming an expectation of new releases in YA that there is representation from various groups. I think this is awesome and it really encourages kindness and acceptance.

What (sometimes) annoys me about YA

As much as I love YA, there are aspects about some YA books that annoy me. Don’t get me wrong, there are books in this genre that I really love and don’t annoy me at all. These are just some traits that I find in some YA books that my eyes rolling.

1: Parental figures

I like it when parents are portrayed in a positive and relatable way. However sometimes parents are overbearing, irresponsible or… non-existent. I mean I’m sure there are parents like that out there, but they should be portrayed as real people, with flaws as well as positive traits.

2: Insta-love

Oh, insta-love! I don’t think that this is specific to the YA genre (then again, I don’t really read adult romances so I don’t know?) This is a whole new can of worms, but bottom line is, when I catch a whiff of insta-love, I am out.

3: Unrealistic stuff

In some YA books, things aren’t too realistic. Like, a genius 15-year-old with an IQ of a gazillion who beats out all the adults? Like, the 20-year-old who is the CEO of a corporation that he founded, who the whole world bows down to? Also, picture-perfect endings where girl and guy, after losing touch for years, meet on a plane after achieving their dreams? Call me jaded, but life doesn’t always happen this way?

The bottom line is, there are still many things that I enjoy about YA books. It’s about being on the lookout for books in the genre with some of the pet peeves that I can’t stand (see above), and staying far away from them. In the upcoming year, I’ll be venturing out a bit into the adult realm of reading, but YA will still be home base for me.

Whether you are a teen or an adult, how do you guys feel about YA fiction?

61 thoughts on “Let’s Chat! Reading YA as an… adult?

  1. Hannie says:

    The pacing is my primary reason for reading YA! I love how quickly things move along! I also just generally relate more to YA still because I’ve been a teenager, but I have not been a 40-year-old divorced housewife, which is what it feels like a lot of adult literature is about.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sophie Li says:

      Hello Hannie! Glad to hear from another adult YA fan πŸ™‚ Haha yes I know what you mean. It is also sometimes easier for me to relate to the younger characters in YA novels, rather than the much older characters in adult novels.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. confessionsofayareader says:

    I love YA and I’m 41. I think that it’s mostly because I don’t feel my age, but I also like to escape from adult problems. Also, as you mentioned, I see so much more diversity in YA. I don’t mind instalove, so that’s not an issue for me. As long as I’m still enjoying the books, I’ll keep reading them.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Sophie Li says:

      I’m happy to hear from another adult YA fan!! I feel the same way! Sometimes adult books are way too heavy, and I am just looking for something light to read after a long day. You are right in that whatever genre we read, the important part is to enjoy the books πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  3. meandinkblog says:

    I was saying yes to every point you made. I love YA and I am very comfortable in it so I always gravitate to it and happily find lots of books I love. I definitely love the humour in YA books and that the have a fast pace. But I definitely see things that are done in them a lot which makes you want to try other things. I have trying to be more diverse in my reading but I am probably the same as you— I want to try adult books but YA will always be there for me. 😊
    Great post!!! πŸ’›

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sophie Li says:

      Hi Taylor! I absolutely agree here. I’ve been an “adult” for a while though I still feel like a kid in many ways haha. I don’t think adulting ever ends! Glad to hear from another adult YA fan!! πŸ™‚

      Like

  4. paperbacks.and.planners says:

    I’m almost 30 and still love YA. I do read lots of adult books too but it’s so easy to escape into YA books. I love the fast pace, the rep, the lightheartedness. I love a good heavy book, but sometimes I just want to forget about adulting and read about a bunch of attractive Fae πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sophie Li says:

      I’m so happy to hear from another adult YA fan!! I absolutely agree! YA books are so much easier to get into, especially after a long day of adulting. Usually I try to space out the long and heavy books with some light-hearted YA reads πŸ™‚

      Like

  5. floatinggold says:

    I can understand your confusion.
    To me, no book is off limits. One day I might feel like picking up a kid’s book. What’s wrong with that? Other days I will read the most serious of books. It just depends on what you feel in that moment and what the book is about.
    To me, YA is a rather vague and wide genre. Or maybe I’m just misguided. A character from my NaNo is in early 20s. Is that too old to be a YA?

    Liked by 1 person

  6. L.M. Durand says:

    I’m an adult in my thirties, and love YA. I think everything is amplified at that age and I love how raw emotions can be. Like you said, it’s often light-hearted, funny, and fast-paced, which is perfect for me!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Marie says:

    To be honest, I feel like…. we’re kind of all pretending we know what we’re doing as adults, but we’re totally faking it πŸ˜‚ at least, I know I am, but well I’m also still considering myself as a young adult, so… I don’t know if that counts? πŸ˜‚
    This is a GREAT post, I loved it! I am always craving and turning towards young adult books, because I adore how they explore the complex emotions and coming-of-age times, these kind of books are my favorites, about self-discovery, growing up and so on. I love the imaginative worlds, the feeling that you can change the world, the pacing and the relationships in these books. I don’t know, I can’t explain why, I’m just drawn to them always for now haha πŸ™‚
    Lovely post! ❀

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sophie Li says:

      Hey Marie! Haha yeah I know what you mean. I feel like every adult is trying to put on their proper and serious face, though we all have our weird and child-like side I think πŸ™‚
      I love your comment because I also like how emotions are explored much more deeply in YA books (at least compared to the few adult books that I’ve read!) I enjoy stories about coming of age and growing up as well. The more I think about these things the more I want to keep reading YA haha πŸ™‚
      Thank you Marie ❀

      Like

  8. corastillwrites says:

    I read plenty of YA and I’m 31. My 60-year-old mum is a big John Green fan. A well-written YA book is a great read for anyone, though you do make some good points about irritating tropes that recur. Boo to insta-love! And when every powerful character in a fantasy/sci-fi novel is under 25, it does make you wonder about the political structure of the world they inhabit.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Margaret @ Weird Zeal says:

    Fellow adult YA reader! (Although I too feel like I’m still faking being an adult. When does that stop?)
    Yep, I love YA for all the reasons that you talked about, especially the diverse representation that you just don’t find in a lot of adult (though I think that’s slowly changing). At the same time, certain things about YA bother me too (insta love – UGH), but I don’t think I’ll be moving on anytime soon! πŸ˜‰

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Mel says:

    I totally relate to this post! I have loved YA fiction since I was a teen, but recently I’ve been wondering if I should be…growing out of it maybe? I don’t feel like I am for the most part because I still really enjoy most of it, but I sometimes feel weirdly guilty about liking YA even though I definitely think people should read what they want to read. I have tried to branch out of YA also, but ultimately I think I just love YA regardless of being an adult. This was such a great post! Thanks for sharing it ❀

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sophie Li says:

      Hey Mel! Yeah I get what you mean. Part of me does feel guilty about reading YA novels and I wonder if I should be growing out of the genre. On the other hand, I absolutely agree that we should read what we want to read. Reading is for our enjoyment after all! I’d say we should read the books that make us feel happy πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

    • Sophie Li says:

      Hi Kay! First of all, that’s awesome that you’ll be graduating soon! I think YA is a genre that’s always there for you when you want to read more of it. As an adult, I still feel that I can relate to YA books (sometimes even more than adult books haha.) At the end of the day, I think you should read what you want to read!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. thewolfandbooks says:

    Adult fiction is barely diverse… It’s *slowly* getting there. But I don’t see myself represented in adult fiction too much. If it’s Literary, it’s people who are married or have a secure job or have kids. If it’s fantasy, it’s very serious and people die a lot. Haha. I do like Adult Fantasy if I’m tired of YA tropes, but I usually find myself returning to YA in the end. I loved this post!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sophie Li says:

      Yeah I think you are SO right and that’s the reason why I don’t read adult fiction haha. It’s a bit heavy at times (whether literary or genre fiction) and it just isn’t as relaxing to read as YA books (although there are exceptions!) So in general I like to switch between adult and YA once in a while, and most of the time I read what I feel like πŸ™‚

      Like

  12. Will Read for Booze says:

    I am also… an “adult” and I am still trying to figure out how to make it stop. I feel you on the “am i growing out of this?” internal monologue. You know that meme that’s like “you know you’re an adult when you start to relate more to the parents than the main characters”?

    No, Ariel, you are definitely a child at 16 and you should listen to your father.

    Sorry. I’ve been feeling like this a lot lately with YA books. I can barely remember to do my laundry before I run out of clothes, let alone save the world, and I’m almost 30…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sophie Li says:

      Haha YES I know what you mean. There are some YA books that I read where I am starting to sympathize with the parents. “Oh gosh, that is a tough kid to have to deal with…”
      Yeah I feel you there, adulting is hard!! πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Kelly | Another Book in the Wall says:

    This is such a great post, Sophie! I truly love so much about the YA genre, but definitely agree that some aspects of it can be annoying – the lack of positive parental figures is certainly one of those reasons for me. Haha. What I love most about this genre, is the focus on relationships and the coming of age themes! ☺️

    Liked by 1 person

  14. artyplantsman says:

    I am 52 and read a lot of YA! It is not all light hearted escapism either – the Hunger Games books are unbearably bleak at times for instance. But I love that YA has the imagination often lacking in so called adult books!

    I love Terry Pratchett. My favourite of his books? The YA Tiffany Aching series. Both funny and really wise and poignant!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Beth (Reading Every Night) says:

    I don’t feel like an adult either Sophie, in fact I’m wondering when I will start along with wondering when being an adult will be over as well! 😐
    Still I read YA all the time, and I don’t feel like I should graduate to adult books. There are things that annoy me about the genre (the parent thing and insta-love are two major ones of mine too) but there’s so much more representation in books now, so many important stories like THUG and books focusing on mental health and diversity, that I feel like the genre is not just for young adults.
    Maybe one day that’ll change, but for now I read what I enjoy and what I enjoy is YA!
    Great post. I really enjoyed reading your thoughts on this topic. πŸ™‚ ❀️

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sophie Li says:

      Hey Beth πŸ™‚ Haha I have a feeling that adulting never really ends, and maybe it is a good thing to hang onto the feeling of being young!
      Yeah I love the representation in YA books. It’s great that we have books with diversity and books that talk about mental health, and I agree like there are many books like THUG that go beyond their label as a “young adult” book.
      I always felt that I needed to transition into adult books now that I am older, but after hearing from so many other adults who read YA, I feel like it is perfectly fine to continue reading YA haha πŸ™‚ After all I guess it is about reading what we want to read, and what makes us happy πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

      • Beth (Reading Every Night) says:

        It never does, we’re thrown into it without warning and there’s no escape (too dramatic? Maybe, but true). πŸ™‚
        Exactly, there’s so much more to YA than there used to be when I was a teenager. I’ve kind of grew up with the genre and seen it evolve as my own reading tastes have evolved. I think there’s still plenty more places for it to go and hopefully I’ll never get bored of it. πŸ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

      • Sophie Li says:

        Haha yes! When I turned 18, I definitely didn’t feel like an adult. Then the years went by and suddenly I am 28 and doing things like paying bills and doing chores every weekend?! lol πŸ™‚
        That’s interesting that you grew up with the YA genre! I’m curious what trends you’ve noticed compared to the YA books you’ve read before?
        I read a lot of Babysitters Club, Series of Unfortunate Events, etc. But as a teen I actually read mostly adult fiction (I was rebellious haha.) Interestingly now I am reading way more YA than adult πŸ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

      • Beth (Reading Every Night) says:

        It sneaks up on your doesn’t it? πŸ™‚
        I mean the first YA books I really picked up were the Twilight ones. I went through the whole vampire trends, then there were a lot of books featuring angels, and then it was the dystopian craze when the Hunger Games was released. Now the trend seems to be diverse books which I’m hoping is a trend that just keeps growing and growing. πŸ˜€

        Liked by 1 person

      • Sophie Li says:

        Yeah I remember when everyone was reading Twilight and Hunger Games! You are right that for a while there were lots of vampire novels and even TV shows, and then dystopian series. I am definitely liking the diverse trend now as well πŸ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

  16. Kaleena @ Reader Voracious says:

    Believe me… the feeling of not being a real adult never goes away. I am 35 and still feel like I am faking it! I also still read YA fantasy and science fiction, mostly because I enjoy the stories and pacing … and not feeling like a real adult also means the narratives of finding yourself and coming of age resonate with me. I don’t enjoy YA contemporary though, mostly for the reasons you listed. I almost view YA as a way to telling the story just as much as the age of the protagonist.

    But don’t worry – you aren’t the only one!

    Like

    • Sophie Li says:

      Hey Kaleena! Yeah you might be right that adulting never ends πŸ™‚ I think it’s not a bad thing to be a kid on the inside.
      I also don’t enjoy contemporary YA as much as I used to because of the reasons here. Especially in the past year, it’s been the YA fantasy/sci fi genres that I gravitate towards. Although I like reading about relationships, sometimes YA contemporary is a bit much.
      Coming of age stories always resonate with me as well πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

      • Kaleena @ Reader Voracious says:

        You’re right, there’s nothing wrong with being young at heart! And for me I’ve been happily single & not dating for like a decade now, so I just don’t reach for or related to romance or relationships. Maybe someday, not now! I just want to go on adventures! (and figure out who the heck I am)

        Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s