I’m fond of saying that you shouldn’t be ashamed of your hobbies or the kinds of books you enjoy reading. The author of this article argues that if you’re older than 18 and you still read YA fiction, then you should be embarrassed. (Although it seems that the author is talking mostly about “realistic” YA romances, not sci-fi/dystopian YA like The Hunger Games or Divergent.)
I admit it — I probably read more YA after I turned 18 than before I turned 18. To this day, I still read YA for two reasons: the stories are simple and enjoyable and because I write stories that could be classified as YA. I’ve said many times that if I ever publish anything in the YA genre, I don’t want it to be as sugar-sweet and lightweight as most of the YA romances that are published today. I can’t stand the cliché happy ending or the unrealistic romantic relationship or the inevitable drunken party scenes. They’re trite and boring.
The author of the article says that YA is more about escapism than about really digging in and enjoying a book for the quality of writing or the depth of the characters. In other words, most YA books are easygoing “beach” reads. I agree with her for the most part; most adult fiction is more satisfying. The plots, characters, and settings stick in your head longer and leave you thinking about the book for years after you’ve finished it. The situations in adult books are also more realistic because they don’t always end on an idealized or happy note.
For instance, I recently read a YA book in which the teenage protagonist planned an elaborate picnic for his love interest, complete with champagne and candles. I know that the author wanted me to think the scene was sweet. She wanted me to swoon and sigh and wish that I had a boyfriend like that. But I rolled my eyes and thought, In what universe does a teenage boy actually do that? Only in the YA universe, apparently. And it kinda sets teen girls up for unrealistic expectations of teen boys. 🙂
Anyway. As always, the moral is: Who cares, read whatever you want.