I’m going to let you in a on a little secret: It’s perfectly okay for adults to read young adult fiction. In fact, the books in the young adult fiction genre tend to have provocative plots, complex and relatable characters, and touching themes – all of which are aspects of fiction that adults enjoy. So, why then, do adults have to hide their love of reading young adult fiction? Why do they have to pretend they are buying for a teen when they’re perusing the shelves? Simply put: They don’t.
Young adult fiction has a younger voice, but is inspiring and a fantastical escape for both adults and adolescents. For adults, it has the gift of being able weave together a tapestry of emotions from what they were like then, what they wanted to be like, and what they are like now. It can affect adults on a deeper level in that way, and they have a different perspective to bring to the table when discussing these books. In fact, the Huffington Post has shared a list of 25 young adult books that adults will love.
One example of this is when reading Eleanor & Park, by Rainbow Rowell. There is no doubting this is a young adult romance, just as there is no doubting that I am far from being a teenager (I’m 25). However, I was able to read it, and relate to Eleanor. I had a really bad childhood, and I also experienced that fluffy teenage love that the characters experienced in the book. I was able to sit back and think, “Aw, I remember that feeling!” and it brought about an entirely new level to the story for me.
A book being focused on young adults, in no way means that it’s intellectually more simplistic than a book intended for adults. I can name quite a few books that were written for adults that were completely awful to sludge through, and I wouldn’t recommend them to anyone. They were also written in very simplistic language, lacking in any real intellectual substance. Why should someone be forced to pick a book of that caliber over an emotionally-engaging, complex book, just because the latter was intended for a different age group? That’s just asinine.
Now, there are some young adult series that I just absolutely abhor, and think should be thrown out entirely. *cough* Twilight. *cough* There are also adult series that enrage me. *cough* 50 Shades *cough* The abhorrence of these books has absolutely nothing to do with age, though. It has to do with what they represent, and their content. Both glorify abusive relationships, and neither series deserves the fame it has obtained. I could argue this until I turned blue in the face, but it wouldn’t really matter. Why is that? Because it’s just my opinion. Just as telling an adult they shouldn’t read something intended for a younger age group. It’s that person’s opinion, and it has no bearing on someone else’s reading selection.
So, why should adults read young adult fiction? Because they want to.
Do you agree? Do you disagree? How do you feel about the idea that adults should be ashamed to read young adult fiction, as Ruth Graham (Journalist, wrote a slate about this topic) maintains?