It seems to be that there is quite the debate occurring in our society about who the intended audience of YA fiction should be. Many suggest that YA fiction is only appropriate for young adults, as the name implies. But many people, including myself, do not believe that there should be such strict limitations on who can read YA fiction and who should not. Why should there be rules and regulations associated with reading? Why is reading about a 17-year-old boy’s struggles with addiction and his quest to find himself (i.e. Hunter in Swimmers), only reserved for other young adults? Why is it not acceptable for a 30-year-old woman to read Swimmers and find a connection?
In a highly digitalized world, people are finding entertainment elsewhere, in the form of Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and many other sources of instant gratification and pleasure. Less and less people are turning to literature as a way to enlighten themselves and learn new things. So therefore, why are we shunning people who find pleasure reading YA literature? YA literature can have a lot of important lessons on life and love, which is relevant whether you are 13 or 31. For me, YA literature is a nice break from the dense and often boring literature that I study as an undergraduate. I have enjoyed the books we have read thus far in this class, and I think the reason that I have enjoyed them so much is because they allow me to escape into a world that is outside of my own. I have been fortune enough to not experience the hardships that Rebee and Hunter have experienced personally, but I am often reflecting on their situations and finding some way to connect to them, whether that be because I know someone who has been in a similar situation or just because I am an empathetic person and I feel for them. Either way, I am connecting with these characters on some level, which I think many people, young or old, can do. So why is that a problem? According to Ruth Graham, this is a problem. In her article that we read the first week of class, she says, “Adults should feel embarrassed about reading literature written for children”. I strongly disagree with Graham. Sometimes novels that are intended for young adults or even young children have messages that have a strong, lasting impact that many readers will take with them into adulthood. When an adult picks up that YA book, they read it and they can get reminded of that lesson or that message that maybe they have neglected as they have “grown up”. These types of realizations can be humbling for adult readers, as they are reminded that young adulthood can be a tough time, and when they read these types of books, they can reflect on their own experiences. All in all, reading is reading. Why do we have to put a title and restrictions on it?