Guest Post: Why I Still Read YA as an Adult
Something to know about me is that I joined the online YA community when I was about fourteen – right around the time that I read The Fault in Our Stars. Though I’ve kind of moved past John Green since then, my love for YA has only grown over time. Here are some of the reasons why: 1. I’ve made such incredible friends in this community The platforms people use have definitely changed – Instagram is huge, and traditional blogging platforms like Blogger and WordPress have seemed to decrease in usage. But the YA community always keeps abreast of these changes, and I’ve made many amazing friends here. I’d never thought I would meet any of them in real life, and I have – not just bloggers and readers but authors who actually RECOGNISE me. It’s a surreal experience. The #LoveOzYA movement has just cemented that community. I love how tight-knit everyone is, how accepting and how friendly. 2. I don’t just read YA, I write it I’ve also been a writer for a long time. I first took part in NaNoWrimo (National Novel Writing Month, for those of you who are unaware!) in year nine, mostly during my maths classes. That book was called MUTUAL WEIRDNESS, and it was terrible, but thankfully I’ve improved since then. Though I dabble in genres, I always stick to YA. When I’m a New York Times bestselling author you can say you knew me back when I wrote a blog post for Inside a Dog. 3. YA books are so much more diverse than adult books I’m not sure why this is. I don’t even really have proof that this is true – it’s all kind of anecdotal. But there is a huge groundswell of support for diverse books and diverse authors, and I love how much the publishing industry is changing to reflect that. We still have a long way to go, but I’m optimistic. You have to be, I suppose. 4. I still very much relate to YA I’m not exactly over the hill, after all. I’m still at university, and high school is fresh in my mind (although sometimes I wish it wasn’t!). YA is incredible – it’s about the years where everything is changing, everything feels important, and everything you feel is magnified. It’s really powerful for that, I think. 5. There’s not a lot out there in between YA and adult books NA (New Adult) is still a small category and I’d really love to see more of it – people at university, people taking gap years, people travelling, people starting a trade, things like that. Moving out. Getting a first job. But there seems to be a big jump. Who knows? Maybe if there were more books out there that I related to as a uni student, I would read less YA. Where are my NA versions of Friends, with a bunch of uni kids moving into a house together? From a marketing perspective, it makes a lot of sense, too. I mean, we’ve heard how much this age bracket spends on avocado toast – it makes sense that we’d read books about us. Even though I think I’ll always love YA, I think the lack of NA definitely contributes to me reading a lot of it! Aaaaand those are some of the reasons I still read YA! I’m sure that I’ll continue to do so in the future – I can’t imagine myself straying. At the same time, I think it’s important to realise that YA is FOR teenagers. So even though I think anyone can read it (and should!) we have to remember the main audience, and the main reason we’re writing it in the first place: for teens.