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Discussions about books > Adults reading "Young Adult"

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message 1: by carol., Senor Crabbypants (new)

carol. | 2616 comments A recent article on reading and young adult:

http://www.csmonitor.com/Books/chapte...

Why am I not surprised at these results?

If you read young adult, why? If you don't, why not?


message 2: by Traci (new)

Traci I haven't read as many as I have in the past, but I do. Depends on the book. But one reason is when I just want to read with my thinking cap off. A simple and straight forward read. Sometimes I'll read one because it's popular and I'm curious. Twilight and Hunger Games. Also, I love romance but not really a great fan of "smut". Nothing against fans of those kinds of books, they're just not for me. Although I've read plenty of them. But I like teen romances because they're more clean, and I find the innocence sweet. In the end though, I figure readers who limit what they will or will not read might be missing a favorite book in their lives. I'm not saying everyone should read Twilight-grin, but there's some really good YA out. Sure I'm not a teen anymore...also not an elf...a dwarf...a king...an assassin...a thief...definitely not a dragon...wouldn't mind being a hobbit... I think you get the idea. Lol.


message 3: by Naiya (new)

Naiya | 13 comments I mainly read genre fiction - fantasy, science fiction, etc. I do venture into YA genres, sometimes, but only if they are in a subgenre I like. For me, the biggest draw is the promise of a good story in a genre I like, and not the YA aspect per se.


message 4: by Jalilah (new)

Jalilah I think what they say about YA books being “written in a less complicated fashion than adult books and may offer more of a literary escape than an adult contemporary novel” is very true, but the appeal is also some of the YA fantasy books are excellent and are often less graphically violent than adult fantasy.

In my case when I read books by particular authors for example with Charles De Lint or Robin McKinley, I don’t even bother to find out if they are YA or Adult. I don’t deliberately choose a book because it is YA I choose what appeals to me.


message 5: by Jon (new)

Jon Sprunk | 49 comments The last YA books I read were the Harry Potter series (bought them for my wife and had to give them a try after all the hype). I would read more, except that I have a huge backlog of adult fantasy to read so I just never get around to more YA stuff.


colleen the convivial curmudgeon (blackrose13) I read a lot of YA fantasy books. Even quite a few MG (i.e. middle-grade) ones. Which isn't to say I don't also read, and sometimes enjoy, adult books... I'd say it's about a 50/50 split, actually. And a lot of the adult books I read are pretty popcorn, too.

I remember awhile back I commented on it to my husband, as I was feeling a bit self conscious, and he said that he reckons I just like a good story - and it doesn't matter what package it comes in.

Anyway -

I do think there's some truth to the "literary escape" thing. As I said, even the adult books I read tend towards the escapist. I read for entertainment - to unwind and to relax. Not that I don't like books which get you thinking around corners - but I like it to be mixed with a good dose of entertainment.

Part of it, too, is that I like character based stories. For me, well-written characters with depth and reality, and a strong narrator voice, are really important parts of book enjoyment. I find that YA books, by and large, seem to be a bit more focused on the character areas - perhaps because there are so many coming-of-age type struggles mixed in with the rest of the story.

I also, personally, do like the fact that they tend to be less graphic. I like romancey bits in my stories, but I'd actually stopped reading adult fantasy books in my early 20s because I was bothered by how much graphic, gratuitous sex seemed to be involved in a lot of the books I was reading.

I don't mind sex as part of a story, but, as I said, I felt a lot of it was gratuitous and unnecessary... and I prefer the 'fade to black' aspect of many YA books as opposed to a more graphic depiction.

And I like good action scenes, but not with an excess of descriptions of gore. (I'm totally ok with the violence in Braveheart, for instance, but squicked out by slasher horror flicks. I think, again, it's the level of gratuitousness, for me.)

Lastly, I liked this bit from the article:

"For years, my nonlibrarian, non-teen reading friends have come to me asking for ideas because teen books are shorter, faster-paced, and designed to appeal to discriminating readers. They are a quick literary fix without the padding.”

Padding. I do feel like some adult books, especially those with aspirations to being "Literary" (but which, to me, don't always quite make it), tend to have a lot of what I would call padding.

Which certainly isn't to say this doesn't happen with YA books. Or that all adult books suffer from it. Just, as a general rule, I find the YA and MG books often get to the meat of things quicker without what I often consider to be unnecessary waffle.


message 7: by Sharon (new)

Sharon Michael | 572 comments Colleen wrote: "I read a lot of YA fantasy books. Even quite a few MG (i.e. middle-grade) ones. Which isn't to say I don't also read, and sometimes enjoy, adult books... I'd say it's about a 50/50 split, actuall..."

That's pretty much the way I feel about YA books ... and much of my reading choices in general. I want to be entertained, I don't want to have to struggle with who is who and doing what to whom, maybe ... I also prefer the descriptions of both violence and sex to be somewhat less gratuitous than many authors seem to think necessary.

Bottom line for me, I read what I enjoy reading to entertain myself.


message 8: by MrsJoseph *grouchy*, *good karma* (new)

MrsJoseph *grouchy* (mrsjoseph) | 7282 comments Colleen wrote: "I read a lot of YA fantasy books. Even quite a few MG (i.e. middle-grade) ones. Which isn't to say I don't also read, and sometimes enjoy, adult books... I'd say it's about a 50/50 split, actuall..."

I'm with you Colleen. I'm in it for the entertainment. For the most part. But thats why. And if reading The Blue Sword again for the 100th time does it for me. So be it.


message 9: by Sharon (new)

Sharon Michael | 572 comments Beauty, The Blue Sword, Hero and the Crown, Sunshine and Lackey's The Fairy Godmother ... those five would be in my 'abandoned on a desert island' list.


message 10: by carol., Senor Crabbypants (new)

carol. | 2616 comments "For years, my nonlibrarian, non-teen reading friends have come to me asking for ideas because teen books are shorter, faster-paced, and designed to appeal to discriminating readers. They are a quick literary fix without the padding.”

That paragraph caught my attention as well. I'm still flailing my way through Elantris but in the meantime, I've started and finished a number of other books, including three or four young adult. That's not to say that the writing was awe-inspiring, but the plots moved quickly, and one to two of them I'd rank up with any adult book for character building, plot and world-building.


message 11: by Sharon (new)

Sharon Michael | 572 comments I'm definitely a character-driven reader and Robin McKinley's YA books equal any of the 'adult' book characters that are also favorites ... and surpass some.


Brenda ╰☆╮    (brnda) | 1409 comments The Blue Sword......sigh....
My reading list is getting longer by the minute...but I'll always have time to read The Blue Sword.

YA? I love it...keeps me young.
:)


message 13: by AM Hazel (new)

AM Hazel (arialynx) I`ve been reading lots of YA books lately, by accident. My library seems to have quite a collection of them for borrowing online & they`re not too great with the descriptions of genre. So I would just read the plot summary, think it sounds interesting & then realize when I started reading that it`s YA. I`ve so far read Maze Runner & Divergent which I liked. Knife of Never Letting Go which I didn`t. Hunger Games was so-so.

It`s true that some adult fiction books tend to have padding. I`ve had the same experience as Colleen. Sometimes padding can be good because it really immerses you in the story. But other times it`s just the author being wordy & boring. LOL.


message 14: by Jalilah (last edited Oct 01, 2012 05:16PM) (new)

Jalilah Some great YA Books that I've enjoyed lately are:

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
Wildwood Dancing by Juliet Marillier
Princess of the Midnight Ballby Jessica Day George
Raven by Allison van Diepen
and Under My Skin by Charles De Lint

All were fun and very well written!


message 15: by carol., Senor Crabbypants (last edited Oct 01, 2012 05:53PM) (new)


message 16: by Pickle (new)

Pickle | 13 comments i recently read Mortal Engines because i was wanting a steampunk book and this was highly rated. When i seen it was the Blue Peter book of the year, i cringed as Blue Peter is a goodytwoshoes childrens program on BBC.

It was a magnificent book and a wee bit gruesome.

Trouble is i now want to buy the next in the series but absolutely detest standing in the teenage section of Waterstones (i feel like an old perv) so will order it online.


message 17: by Audra (last edited Oct 08, 2012 10:21AM) (new)

Audra Middleton | 10 comments I read YA books because I read them to my kids at night. It's something to enjoy together. I enjoy YA fantasy because I feel like they focus more on the story than the complex world-building some adult fantasy writers get caught up in. I really don't need for everyone and their sword to have 3 names in different 'languages.' I want a good story.


message 18: by carol., Senor Crabbypants (new)

carol. | 2616 comments "Everyone and their sword to have three names..." Giggle. How true.


message 19: by R.M.F. (new)

R.M.F. Brown | 72 comments Good writing speaks for itself. I never bother too much with labels. Anyway, fifty shades is for 'adults' and yet, I can rattle of a list of young adult books that are far superior in terms of writing ability and overall story. As somebody once said - labels are there to help people who work in libraries.


message 20: by Mike (the Paladin) (last edited Oct 12, 2012 09:49AM) (new)

Mike (the Paladin) (thepaladin) | 5387 comments I read quite a bit of YA fiction, but that doesn't tend to be considered too much as to whether I pick a book up or not. If a book appeals to me I try it. I suppose I got started "back into" YA when my kids were reading Harry Potter (not counting when I was reading to them of course). After that Other YA books sometimes just sounded interesting. If a book comes off as too "young" then that's cool, it's for a younger audience and can be laid aside. But, I've come across very enjoyable books that work as YA or adult reading level.


message 21: by Kim (new)

Kim | 43 comments I think I steer away from YA because I prefer the main characters in my fantasy reads to be adult. I have been trying to think of exactly why I feel this way but I can't quite put my finger on it. I tend to really enjoy a more gritty type of book with more adult themes (like GRRM's books) but I have also enjoyed fantasy books that are very tame who have adult main characters (like Michael Sullivan's Riyria series). I don't know, just personal preference I guess.


message 22: by Matt (new)

Matt Larkin (mattlarkin) | 13 comments Kim wrote: "I think I steer away from YA because I prefer the main characters in my fantasy reads to be adult. I have been trying to think of exactly why I feel this way but I can't quite put my finger on it...."

Yeah, I have a harder time reading characters that are much less than 20. The occasional character, sure, but to have an entire cast be can seem tough. I enjoy Harry Potter, but most other books the characters feel either too juvenile (and thus irritating) or too adult (and thus unreal).


message 23: by Jim (new)

Jim (jimmaclachlan) I've read a fair amount of YA over the years, mostly because discussing books with my kids was a great way to connect. I turned my daughter on to Harry Potter & all of the family wound up reading it. That led to disputes over who got the book when a new release came out, of course. It was fun.

Unfortunately, too many YA authors think that kids can't think logically. I just finished I Am Number Four & was pretty disappointed by some of the holes in it. It was good in so many ways too. A real shame. My review is here:
http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/...


message 24: by Sharon (last edited Oct 19, 2012 04:32PM) (new)

Sharon Michael | 572 comments I do read quite a lot of YA but the one thing I've noticed lately is it seems as much more of the fantasy and paranormal seems to tend to teenage characters.

I can deal fine with younger characters in a civilization that seems to consider late teens to be adults and/or situations that force young people to grow up quickly. Unfortunately, what I'm seeing too much of lately (and don't care for at all) are all the plots that revolve around teenagers sudden 'discovering' they have all these *powers*, whether paranormal, fey or whatever. However, instead of learning to deal with them, they whine, bury their heads in the sand and refuse to deal with it and you end up with all this teenage angst which I do not deal well with at all.


message 25: by Michele (new)

Michele | 74 comments I read adult, ya, and kids books. All classifications have good and bad writing, simple and complex books. Some kids' books are beautifully written, complex stories, while some adult novels are endless drivel. And, this is true in reverse as well. I think there is a big marketing push for "ya" books for various reasons, and there is this idea out there that books need to be in one category OR the other, when sometimes that line isn't all that clear. Bookstores are as much to blame for this as libraries. On the other hand, I also think that sometimes when a writer thinks they are writing for a younger audience, they focus more on plot and a tighter story emerges. Not always obviously. There are loads of books written for adults which are pointless, filled with run-on sentences, and have characters that only seem to want my sympathy. Oh, yes, and have three names for everything. :)


Mike (the Paladin) (thepaladin) | 5387 comments I think since Harry Potter YA has become a bigger deal for publishers.

I read both YA and adult level books also...except I think I sometimes actually like drivel......????????

:)


message 27: by Michele (new)

Michele | 74 comments Mike (the Paladin) wrote: "...I read both YA and adult level books also...except I think I sometimes actually like drivel......????????

:)"


:) very funny! I know that I have a "weakness" for silly happy-ending stories. I was re-reading one as an ebook this weekend while avoiding reading the Newbery I should be reading for work.


message 28: by Sharon (new)

Sharon Michael | 572 comments Michele wrote: " I know that I have a "weakness" for silly happy-ending stories."

I am not entertained by grim, depressing endings and since I read for entertainment, I want happy endings ... if not 'happy ever after' endings, at least comforting 'life goes on' endings. As I've said before, if I'm ever in the mood for *depressing* all I have to do is turn on the TV news ... for entertainment I prefer something else entirely.


message 29: by Jalilah (new)

Jalilah Sharon wrote: I am not entertained by grim, depressing endings and since I read for entertainment, I want happy endings ... if n..."

Same here! The exception for me is historical fiction based on real people. When reading about the life of an interesting person I know from the start that sooner or later they are going to die, so as long as the entire story is not depressing I can take an unhappy ending.
This is not the case when I read fantasy fiction.


message 30: by R.M.F. (new)

R.M.F. Brown | 72 comments I've checked out some of the recommendations posted earlier, and I'm impressed by the breadth of ideas in YA. It's always the same though, so many books to read, so little time.


message 31: by Michael (new)

Michael (michaeljsullivan) | 262 comments Kim wrote: "I tend to really enjoy a more gritty type of book with more adult themes (like GRRM's books) but I have also enjoyed fantasy books that are very tame who have adult main characters (like Michael Sullivan's Riyria series). I don't know, just personal preference I guess."

I'm glad you enjoyed Riyria.


message 32: by carol., Senor Crabbypants (new)

carol. | 2616 comments Hmm, that sounds interesting, Marianne. I don't think I've read that author.


message 33: by Weenie (new)

Weenie Kim wrote:"I think I steer away from YA because I prefer the main characters in my fantasy reads to be adult. ..... (like GRRM's books)

Bran, Arya and Sansa are all children. Jon Snow is only 14 too....

But I know what you mean.

I prefer my reading to be gritty and violent but do enjoy the occasional YA books as they often tell very good stories.

Enjoyed all the HP books but would recommend Patrick Ness' Chaos Walking series, Garth Nix's Old Kingdom series and Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials series.


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