Hello, I’m Haley Waddell and I am a YA addict.
Whew, feels good to get that off my chest.
Yep, I am 21 years old and have recently re read Scott Westerfield’s series The Uglies (seriously… I read them back to back over a week long period while on Christmas break) and I can honestly say that I thoroughly enjoyed The Hunger Games series when I read them for the third time this past summer. And yes, I have also read the Maze Runner series and Fault in our Stars in the past six months. The Giver, which I read when I was 13, is my favourite book. I turn 22 in 6 months.
It has recently come to my attention that some view adults reading young adult literature as embarrassing. Time’s Magazine columnist, Joel Stein even went as far as saying, “ The only time I’m O.K. with an adult holding a children’s book is if he’s moving his mouth as he reads.” He then goes on to say that “books are one of our few chances to learn”. I actually think this is an outrageous comment seeing as many of the YA books today deal with a lot of things people are going through and can relate and learn from. I am going to be honest though, I have had moments where I have tried to hide the fact I was reading Twilight, but c’mon…. We can’t let one series ruin it for all YA literature. Author Patricia McCormick argues that, “young adult authors are doing some of the most daring work out there. Authors who write for young adults are taking creative risks — with narrative structure, voice and social commentary.” YA authors are currently taking over the literary market! The last time I heard an “adult” book get as much attention as The Hunger Games or The Book Thief was when 50 Shades of Grey came out…
( Don’t get me wrong, there have been some amazing “adult” books that have come out recently, we just don’t hear as much about them!)
Why is reading YA literature such a crime? These are stories that I can easily relate and identify with. Whether its things I have personally gone through, am going through, or feelings and emotions that I understand to some degree. I think thats why YA literature is so popular. No, I have personally not fought for my life in an arena or have a rare form of cancer, but I do understand love, and wanting to protect the people closest to us. These are feelings someone who is 16 has probably felt and these are feelings a 48 year old may feel too. YA books deal with themes and topics that are engaging, whether they are about imaginary things like vampires and futuristic worlds, or teens going through life as outsiders, popular kids or drug addicts. I was reading the comments left on Joel Stein’s argument and someone stated that adults should read books that challenge the brain. I don’t entirely disagree with this statement on the basis that we should always want to better our skills in reading and conceptualizing texts, however we are allowed to read, just to simply read. Books can be fun too. Helloooooo YA books can stimulate imagination!! When is that ever a bad thing for adults??
As a university student who spends her days highlighting textbook after textbook and reading the most boring pieces of literature assigned to us by our profs (Shakespeare’s history plays are not my favourite…just saying), at the end of the day sometimes I want to read something that I don’t really have to think about. We should not focus on what exactly is being read, but on the fact people are still reading! Who cares if on occasion I opt for an easy enjoyable read rather then a story with challenging plots and difficult characters. In a world where every one has their face glued to their electronic devices we should celebrate the fact people are still reading and that they are enjoying it. So, screw you book bullies, I will not put down my copy of The Host just because you believe I am too old for it. I will read what I want and not feel ashamed about it!