If you’re a YA fan and occasionally venture out into the world, you’ve probably been told that YA books aren’t real books.
I know that I have. From teachers, fellow students, even friends and adults. I mention how much I love reading but when I start rattling off some names and mention they’re YA sci-fi’s, contemporaries, or fantasies, people are quick to quirk a judgemental brow. Because of course, any books centering around teenagers can’t have any quality… right?
I brush it off as best I can, but it’s hard to listen to people insult what you love, especially when they don’t really understand it. The only YA books they can name are Twilight, The Hunger Games, or The Fault in Our Stars, three books that can’t possibly incapsulate the entirety of the YA genre or its subgenres.
Besides that, though, why would people condemn an entire genre, filled with a variety of books? Well, because all of those books have one common denominator: teenagers. Adults, and even teenagers, have problems with teenagers.
They’re too moody, too whiny, too immature. I think the real reason people have a problem with YA isn’t the genre itself but its main audience and age range. The same stories written in different genres would definitely garner more respect.
I know that YA isn’t for everyone, and I wouldn’t expect every adult to enjoy the genre. But the fact that they condemn it as “childish” or “not real reading” absolutely grinds my beans.
I can rattle off plenty of YA books that made me think, like really, really think. Six of Crows, The Hate U Give, The Upside of Unrequited, The Serpent King, Release. All of these books, and way more, have made me contemplate violence, morality, poverty, and discrimination. And, coincidentally, they’re all about teenagers facing problems.
Are there YA books that are more fluffy than they are serious? More romantic than they are realistic? OF COURSE. The same can be said for any genre known to man. And those books are nothing to be ashamed of either.
To make a long story short, you should never feel bad for being a diehard YA fan, and you should never let others shame you for it. It can be hard, especially when that judgement comes from your friends, but at the end of the day, it’s what you love. It doesn’t have to be a “guilty pleasure” for it to be acceptable. The YA publishing industry is booming and we did that. Us teenagers. We did that.
Next time someone rolls their eyes when you mention To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, or judges you for picking up a copy of The Lunar Chronicles, hold your head up. You’re doing just fine.
Let’s discuss. Do you ever get shamed for your love of YA? How do you handle it? Why do you think YA is such a highly judged genre? Why do you think YA is so important? Tell me in the comments! 🙂