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Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Discussion: Aussie Response to Adults reading YA

So, I found this article a few weeks back. It started going ok... until I got further on and
You're kidding me right? I know that this is her own opinion, but she isn't even stating it like an opinion. She is TELLING YOU, that if you are older than the target YA age group, then you should feel ashamed of yourself and embarrassed. 

You know what? I don't like adult fiction novels. There, I said it... and I LOVED saying typing it. I've tried reading it, sure. But nothing, and I mean nothing, is like YA. Sure, we have been there, but I read because I love it, not because I have to or anything, but because I WANT to read. I want to read more than I already do! I want to read YA because I don't connect with anything else. I don't like reading non fiction because I want to read to be able to loose myself in this world, and be found in a fictional heaven in the world that is YA books. I don't care how old I get, I will still be reading YA. So without further adieu.....
And I am proud of it.

Let's get into the facts here (mainly to prove my point :P ):
Whoooo!!

And also...
I think this is the best thing ever. Seriously, did you just read it! It's honestly everything that EVERYONE needs to read, and just think, this is in a bookshop.... somewhere.

Ok, enough from me, here is what some others had to say about this...
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Sonia, Marketing & Publicity Manager (and unashamed YA fan) - Bloomsbury Publishing Australia
I LOVE that so many adults enjoy reading YA. I remember years ago when I worked in children’s books at Allen & Unwin, I always felt like I had to beg my friends to read their wonderful YA books– by brilliant authors like Margo Lanagan, Meme McDonald and Ursula Dubosarsky (to name a few). I just felt that so many adults were missing out on amazing books only because they were YA. Times have changed and it’s great that a lot of adults read YA nowadays. And it’s no wonder really.  We are all so time poor and YA books provide us with well-crafted stories that we can read in a few sittings. But that doesn’t mean we don’t enjoy ‘grown up’ books too. I don’t have statistics but just anecdotally I find that most of my adult friends who are YA fans also read a lot of adult fiction as well. I know I do!
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Melanie from YA Midnight Reads
Hi guys! So the lovely Gina recently asked me to share my opinion from a 14 y/o's point of view about this article on Slate.
My reaction?

Let's start with the basics, what is the definition of YA? YA stands for young adult; basically the age bracket from 13-18, like the author of the post most forthrightly pointed out in their post. But this age bracket? It doesn't mean anything apart from say who the key audience is. It doesn't say that only people from this age group can read from the YA genre, and it doesn't say NO ADULTS ALLOWED. It's like categorizing a book as 'fantasy'; this means that it's a fantasy novel and it's targeted at fantasy lovers. This genre categorization doesn't stop non-fantasy lovers from reading it, but it simply gives the audience an idea of what were are meant to expect in the book. Saying a book from the YA genre is the same. It tells us that it's most likely for teen readers to enjoy and it has issues that teenagers can relate to. There's no law that says that adults are not permitted to read this books, nevertheless be ashamed for reading them. I'd also like to address another question: why do we read? Well, I don't know about you but here is my take. We read for the sake of enjoyment; it's a freaking hobby. So if an adult wants to read a YA novel, so be it. No judgement. They wanna read it because they enjoy books from the genre, and that's all that matters. Reading is for enjoyment, and if we as human beings, do not have the right to read books for our leisure, surely the world has gone mad. Books are universal, they let us live vicariously through them, and this article is saying that adults should be ashamed that they are doing something they enjoy. 

 I am a My Little Pony addict. I love it and I am a teenager. My Little Pony's target audience are little kids. Is someone going to write a post about me and the rest of us teenagers, telling us that we should be ashamed that we are watching something that we enjoy? It's absolutely ridiculous. 


 Also, if you think about it, what about the authors of these novels? They're adults as well, should they be ashamed for writing them, now?

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Kelly from Diva Booknerd
I'm a mature young adult reader in my thirties, and Ruth Graham who brought us that ever so wonderful Slate opinion piece, it's nothing more than sensationalism at it's finest. I don't think anyone is in a position to tell others what they should be reading, so if I choose to children's picture books, a Vanilla Ice biography, a delightful recount of how to make sock puppets on a budget... Or even young adult, that's my prerogative, to borrow the words of Bobby Brown. Young adult is teen, not children's literature. 

Personally, I find that young adult novels are carefree, even the ones that feature teen cancer patients. They are outside the realm of my own world, that they are purely to be enjoyed and to entertain me. After all, isn't that what reading is about? I don't want to read about handcuffed virgins, serial killers or back in the old days when you needed to slice your own bread. Am I generalising? No, I couldn't possibly be. Well, that's exactly what the article implies. Considering she claims, 'When I think about what I learned about love, relationships, sex, trauma, happiness, and all the rest, you know, life, from the extracurricular reading I did in high school...' Lady, you're bonkers. Your argument is pretentious at best. Reading is to be enjoyed and your wet blanket point of view isn't a valid argument, it only comes across as bitter. It's no business of yours if I want to enjoy young adult novels, it doesn't influence what you read so I'm not sure why a writer such as Ruth felt the need to make adult young adult readers feel as though we're inferior. 

Twilight may be considered the equivilant of literary junk food, but it brought back many women my age to reading again, and it was a series such as The Hunger Games and Divergent that kept us there. As she stated herself, my age group are among the biggest consumers of young adult fiction, so where are the positives? That our disposable income helps keep an industry afloat, financially supporting both authors and publishers in a worldwide economy that is struggling to bring in consumers to purchase? No? Didn't think so. 


So I'll continue to be enthralled, entertained and enamored by young adult novels, and you, the lovely Ruth, can shove your opinion up your ass.
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Katie from Kkatie Reads
Is it really such a shame that so many adults are choosing YA? Is it such a big step to jump across the stacks to Adult from YA? I don’t believe it is at all, when reading the Slate article there is such an underlining theme that reading Adult literature is a end goal to reading, basically something we should all hope to accomplish and I could not possibly disagree with that more. Enjoyment should be the end goal to reading

One giant criticism that Ruth Graham presents is that ‘YA books present the teenage perspective in a fundamentally uncritical way’ which could be true depending on what book in YA you are talking about but at the same time there are so many YA books that make me think critically about young adults in a new way. One thing that I could not quiet grasp that was not covered in the article was the fact that many readers will not exclusively read YA or Adult, so many of us pick and choose whichever takes their fancy at the time. I’m currently reading one Adult Fantasy, one Adult Contemporary, one Classic, two YA Contemporaries and one YA Fantasy. If that is not a mixed bag I don’t know what is.

To wrap up my thoughts I think there was a lot of bias in this piece, against YA. It really is a shame because YA is such a diverse set of books and god only knows that I will keep reading it even if ‘I should feel embarrassed about reading a book written for children.’



What's your opinion? Do you agree with us?

16 comments:

  1. Well said! I absolutely agree, I am an adult reading YA and I am not going to stop just because of that article. I read it because I like it and that is all that matters.

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    1. Thank you! I am 21 in a few months, and I read it because I like it too, not because of anything else. Thanks.

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  2. Oh I love all of these! WELL SAID, PEOPLES, WELL SAID. I'm in the 34% too...not a young adult anymore. Buuut, well, I've TRIED adult fiction, and the only adult books I liked where ones that were narrated by, um...kids. (Like The Bear and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close .) So I did try. But it's YA that I want to read, that I love and that I always come back to. I don't even care. I think that article writer is slightly bonkers...mostly because of the way she wrote that article. It was so WRONG. You can't tell people to be ashamed! That's opinions not facts. -_-

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    1. The ladies said it brilliantly! Loved having their input, especially from all different age groups. I completely agree with you, I haven't found that I like any kind of adult fiction novel, and I just generally prefer YA novels anyway. I think so too, maybe she was drunk when she wrote it, or might just be up herself to think that her opinion is the only opinion.

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  3. What a pretentious snob. I never read the article and I refuse to. I don't need to read about a condescending bitter woman who things she can tell people what they should and shouldn't do. As someone who reads both Adult and Young Adult, I wouldn't say one is better than the other. It all depends on what YOU prefer as a reader because reading is about reading what YOU like and what YOU want to read and no one can tell you that. UGH. People these days. Someone should take away her library card for insulting books and readers all over the world.

    Fantastic discussion post, Gina!!

    Rashika @ The Social Potato

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    1. Ohhh, I don't think you want to read the article. I completely agree with you, and you can't help if it you're an adult and love YA books, that's me, and I don't even like adult books in general! hahaha lets! and we should cut it up into little pieces and put a banned photo on the window of every library. Thanks

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  4. I love YA books...and sometimes MG books. I feel no shame in this. Often I struggle to connect to adult books, or the subject matter just doesn't interest me. But YA consumes me. The complexity of books like The Curse Worker series and Across the Universe leave me awestruck.

    I also have no shame in watching Disney films, playing Skylanders with my 9yo, collecting superhero figurines.

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    1. I'm exactly the same (it just depends on what kind of MG book though). And you shouldn't feel ashamed!! I think that is now a fact, YA is world consuming haha. YES! Disney movies! (although I'm not as fond of the musical numbers as I was when I was younger)

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  5. I am almost thirty and I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE YA. YA is awesome and I am not ashamed of reading it. I read adult books too, but I read way more YA books than Adult ones. I have also read MG that I've loved. I will read any story that's good. All the readers I know are just hungry for a good story, no matter what the intended age is. Ruth has no right to tell people they can't read YA.

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    1. WHOO! What's NOT to love about YA! It's good that you read a whole mix of both, because you can see the difference and like the books as they are, not for who they are marketed to.

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  6. That was a really brilliant article Gina! It's lovely how you got a publishers point of view as well. The stats that you posted are pretty telling, not everyone who reads ya is a long adult. And as Kelly said, at least twilight has inspired adult ya readers everywhere (including me!)

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    1. Thank you. Yes, it's pretty crazy how many non-young adults actually read YA novels, in a good way. That's probably the best thing about the Twilight series, was that it converted a whole lot of people over to YA books.

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  7. I love your opinion! And yes! I so agree with you. Adults shouldn't feel like they can't read YA or that it's weird to do so. That sign though! Ahaha, I love it! All bookshops should definitely have it. I don't know if this is true but since not as many adults are exposed to the mainstream media of books, they might feel as though they shouldn't head over to the YA section. But they totally should! Lovely post Gina!

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    1. Thanks lovely! I agree. Wouldn't it be amazing having that sign in all bookshops :D I would love to be there when an "adult-fiction-reader" reads it, just to see their reaction. That's true, but now because of how many YA adaptations that are out, they are more aware of YA books than before.

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  8. This comment made me agree wholeheartedly. "So I'll continue to be enthralled, entertained and enamored by young adult novels, and you, the lovely Ruth, can shove your opinion up your ass."
    I couldn't even get through her article.

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    1. Kelly is awesome isn't she! haha always knows the right thing to say. I agree, but I forced myself to read through it all, then wanted to throw my laptop because of what Ruth was saying.

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Thanks for leaving a comment, I love hearing what you have to say and talking to you all!