I can’t recall exactly when I started reading YA, I believe it was fifth grade, but I do remember enjoying it immensely. It was as though a whole new world had been revealed to me and I went exploring. I won’t bore you with my favorite YA tropes or the YA novels I passionately abhor but I will tell you that YA offers a lot for readers of all ages.
I know that at a certain age, many people stop reading YA. Maybe it is because you feel like you’ve outgrown it or perhaps you stop reading altogether. I know that many feel that during higher education, and especially graduate school, they are expected to read more literary works. This comes in many forms such as books that are over a century old, nonfiction and more literary fiction. And while every genre has its pros and cons, just because YA isn’t on a reading list doesn’t mean you should give it up altogether. I often try to pick up at least one YA novel on a book haul of four or more books.
Although it is always good to expand horizons, coming back to what you’ve read before is fun and refreshing. My personal example would be The House of Dies Drear a novel by Virginia Hamilton. I first read this masterpiece when I was 11 but I still read quite often. I loved the plot, the inclusion of poetry and the suspense that comes just from the character Pluto alone. Let’s be honest, faves are faves for a reason so you shouldn’t give them up simply because you are out of a certain age bracket.
So, I guess the question remains: why YA? Why not go back to middle grade? Well I don’t think middle grade will keep anyone’s interest for long but I say YA mainly because it takes some stress off, after reading literary fiction, autobiographies etc, you may need a lighter read. You won’t have to question reality or the existence of truth or anything like that in YA. YA is simple in that no matter what the genre is, whether it is a space odyssey or a romance set in 1732, the main conflict is something familiar in its own way. And that predictability is sometimes fun and exciting. Not all YA is created equal, thank goodness. Many YA characters are relatable and everyone likes to relate. Just as all reading does, being able to empathize with a character is soothing and is one of the many things I love about reading. Whether the protectionist is awkward or the antagonist actually has a good point, whether the supporting characters are ridiculously stupid or complete jerks, everyone can see at least one familiar face when they read YA. That is what makes it so much fun.
What are some YA books that you enjoy? Leave a comment and, as always, I’ll give it a read!