Young Adult Fiction for Adults discussion

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Extras! > Why do people look down on children's/YA books?

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message 1: by Grace (new)

Grace | 16 comments Perhaps it's because I'm still a teenager (18), but I've never understood why there are so many people who look down on children's and/or young adult books.

I've heard so many people say that they won't read a book because "It's a kid's book" and they "won't waste there time reading something so juvenile." (Harry Potter) Can't children's literature be, well, literature? I've never understood the mind set of being too old to read a book. Yes, some people are too young to read something, but why too old?

I suppose it's more of a matter of opinion. But it has always bothered me when people treat children's literature like it's stupid and it especially irks me when they act as if it's easier to write children's literature, but I suppose that's a different matter.

What are your thoughts? Discuss!


message 2: by Amanda (last edited Feb 20, 2010 09:29PM) (new)

Amanda Orlich Ahern (kittymeowxcore) | 56 comments Honestly, when people tell me that children's/YA books are stupid, I promptly tell them they should go grow an imagination, THEN get back to me. I'm almost 25 and I love YA books. They're fast reads, but they get something that "adult" books miss sometimes. I love romance novels, paranormal romances novels, fiction, and urban fantasy. So YA books fit perfectly in there.



Shannen *aka Mrs. Jericho Barrons* (shannybananny71) I'm 38 and I still love children/YA books. Harry Potter is one of the best children's series of all time and I love Twilight, Shiver, Hush Hush, etc. My girlfriends and I all read YA books and don't care what others think. I read books as an escape from reality and YA romance brings back high school memories for me. I like adult books too but I'm a sucker for a good YA paranormal romance! :)


Heidi (Yup. Still here.) Shannen wrote: "I'm 38 and I still love children/YA books. Harry Potter is one of the best children's series of all time and I love Twilight, Shiver, Hush Hush, etc. My girlfriends and I all read YA books and do..."

I'm 38 too and still read YA books. I read all kinds of books and don't think you should limit yourself!


message 5: by Maria (last edited Feb 22, 2010 01:04PM) (new)

Maria V. Snyder (maria_v_snyder) | 14 comments IMO - I think some of that prejudice comes from before Harry Potter - because before Harry Potter there weren't that many good YA books. There was a gap between the middle-grade readers for 8 to 12 year olds and adult books. I remember going from Nancy Drew to Agatha Christie when I was 14.

But now, there is a whole section full of wonderful books in all genres and authors known for their adult books are now writing for YA - James Patterson is just one example. Within the Science Fiction and Fantasy genre there are many more authors making the switch :) Which, I should add are because editors are buying YA books like there's no tomorrow - why? They are selling!

So those who "sneer" on the YAs of today - I think they just don't realize how far the books have come. And there's the whole "sneer" on genre books in general from the literary crowd, but that's a whole other rant ;>

I always say read what you enjoy (I'm in my 40s) and don't worry about anyone else. They're the ones missing out :)

Okay - stepping off my soapbox....now


message 6: by Bill (new)

Bill (reedye) | 42 comments Can we call James Patterson (Inc) an author ;-)


message 7: by Maria (new)

Maria V. Snyder (maria_v_snyder) | 14 comments LOL - That is debatable :) I just happen to see an article about his latest YA fantasy.


Gokce ~Muslin Myst~ | 52 comments To be honest, I recently discovered the genre and I'm 26 years old and not one bit bothered reading YA books. And people shouldn't look down on YA books, look how Harry Potter books are all a phenomenon and now Twilight. Aren't they all YA? I don't think there's one person now who'd be embarassed to be seen reading Harry Potter or Twilight so why should it be any different for any other book?

Besides, I now think that YA books are rich with creative plots and characterization. Not to mention I enjoy very much reading them! :)


Heidi (Yup. Still here.) Gokce wrote: "To be honest, I recently discovered the genre and I'm 26 years old and not one bit bothered reading YA books. And people shouldn't look down on YA books, look how Harry Potter books are all a pheno..."

Does it count that I was embarrassed after I read Twilight? :)


Gokce ~Muslin Myst~ | 52 comments Heidi wrote: "Does it count that I was embarrassed after I read Twilight? :) "

You shouldn't! :) I didn't actually read it myself but my sister read all of the series and she liked until they made the movies, she says they ruined the books for her.


message 11: by Amanda (new)

Amanda Orlich Ahern (kittymeowxcore) | 56 comments I LOVED Twilight. My younger sister actually read it (she was 15 or 16 at the time) and told me that I HAD to read them. So I did...I loved them...and was excited when I heard about the movie.

But all of the fanatic movie jazz has really ruined the series for me. I enjoyed the movies to a certain extent, but it's really not the same as it was when I first read it. I've read the series twice, and I don't think I'll be able to re-read them for quite some time.


message 12: by Cheralaine (new)

Cheralaine Cole-Johnson Young Adult was the only area of the publishing industry that actually had a growth in sales last year. I think it is fairly obvious that older adults are reading and enjoying the genre. Since Harry Potter brought me "out of the closet", I feel no shame in reading, discussing, or sharing YA titles with others. When I am relaxing and exploring titles at the bookstore I encounter just as many adults as I do teens in the same section. And, none of my adult friends have ever turned down a YA book that I have given them.

As for the people who are too good for YA...they don't know what they are missing. I feel sad for them.


message 13: by Zen (new)

Zen (zentea) | 2 comments I think the problem develops much the same way that "you don't hang out with boys... eewww!" (or someone younger, or date someone older, or don't like someone because they are a dog person and you are a cat person)

It's a bad habit that readers pick up when they age.

And many never relinquish.

May be picked up around the same time that punctuation and grammar become important.

I know it took me a while to be able to begin a sentence with "and" or end one with a preposition.

They should have AA-like meetings for this. 'Hello, my name is Zen, I am embarrassed by my love of YA books...."


Heidi (Yup. Still here.) Heidi wrote: "Shannen wrote: "I'm 38 and I still love children/YA books. Harry Potter is one of the best children's series of all time and I love Twilight, Shiver, Hush Hush, etc. My girlfriends and I all read..."

Also, there are SO many people out there that don't read at all (almost all my co-workers), I think people deserve credit for reading anything at all!


Shannen *aka Mrs. Jericho Barrons* (shannybananny71) My hubby never read until the Harry Potter series came out. He has also read the Inheritance series and Twilight series, all of which are YA, and reads all the time now. I keep trying to get him to read more of my YA books but he's moved on to "big boy" books now. ;) LOL!


message 16: by Chachic (new)

Chachic Here's a nice quote that I found here in Goodreads, which is related to this topic:

"You have to write the book that wants to be written. And if the book will be too difficult for grown-ups, then you write it for children."
— Madeleine L'Engle

I think people who look down on YA don't really understand the genre and they've never really tried to read the books. I'm glad that YA is gaining some respect because of the popularity of YA fantasy. :)


Gokce ~Muslin Myst~ | 52 comments Chachic wrote: "Here's a nice quote that I found here in Goodreads, which is related to this topic:

"You have to write the book that wants to be written. And if the book will be too difficult for grown-ups, the..."


That's a very nice quote Chachic, and so true!


message 18: by Michelle (new)

Michelle (michellezink) | 168 comments As a YA writer, I'm always shocked when people criticize YA as being "lighter" or "easier" than adult fiction, because from a writing perspective, there are things that are so much harder with YA.

Many of my favorite adult books take a while to build. There's a lot of naval gazing, exposition, etc., and I actually enjoy that when it's done well (as with Sarah Waters, Carlos Ruiz Zafon, and Margaret Atwood).

But good luck trying to get that published in YA! A YA novel has to be tight. It has bring the reader into the story and make them feel invested EARLY. Early, early, early! It's still something I struggle with, because part of me really enjoys writing (and reading!) the set up, but it just won't fly in YA. The pacing is so much more rigorous.

I think where you can sometimes call YA "easier" is concerning certain topics, like romance. In an adult book, a romance would have to be handled realistically because if it weren't, the reader would call you, the writer, out on it without question.

With YA, a huge part of the audience is willing to read (and even enjoys) romantic interactions that aren't realistic, per se, but that reflect the way they WISH romance was - all perfectly natural for the age group, I think, and a nice escape for adults, too!

MZ


Heidi (Yup. Still here.) Shannen wrote: "My hubby never read until the Harry Potter series came out. He has also read the Inheritance series and Twilight series, all of which are YA, and reads all the time now. I keep trying to get him ..."

Shannnen - my hubby is a "book snob" - he only reads books by authors like Cormac McCarthy or Thomas Pynchon. I have begged him to read the Book Thief as he loves WWII books, but it's a "YA book", so he won't even try it. I barely got him to read City of Thieves, and that is an "adult" fiction book.


Gokce ~Muslin Myst~ | 52 comments Michelle wrote: "As a YA writer, I'm always shocked when people criticize YA as being "lighter" or "easier" than adult fiction, because from a writing perspective, there are things that are so much harder with YA. ..."

So true, I think. I'm no professional writer but I read a lot of book that fall into the YA category and I agree with you Michelle, the pace in YA books needs to be fast engaging, and the ones that do this, do it well. Once it gets going, you get to the point you can't put the book down and that's where the success lies. At least that's how I see it.


message 21: by Carmen (new)

Carmen | 26 comments I agree with James above when he says:

"I read them (YA books) because the regular adult books have, for the most part, lost the sense of adventure, wonder and energy that the YA books have. I've read more than my fair share of great books that other adults have turned their nose up at."

I think most adult books take themselves too seriously. If I want mature, serious, depressing staff I read the paper or talk with my friends.
YA books, on the other hand, even when dealing with serious matters leave you with hope that things could get better.
And I write YA because young adults experience life for the the first time and they bring a sense of wonder that we adults have lost. For me, the coming of age story is, by far, the most fascinating of all.


message 22: by Maria (new)

Maria V. Snyder (maria_v_snyder) | 14 comments Another reason I love to read YAs is my children (15 and 12) are also reading these books, and it gives us something else to talk about than school and friends. And we have fun arguements about the characters and plot.


message 23: by Bill (new)

Bill (reedye) | 42 comments Interesting article from the LA Times. Nice quote:

YA is one of the few bright spots in an otherwise bleak publishing market. Where adult hardcover sales were down 17.8% for the first half of 2009 versus the same period in 2008, children's/young adult hardcovers were up 30.7%.

Online here:

http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/...


message 24: by Maria (new)

Maria V. Snyder (maria_v_snyder) | 14 comments Good news indeed! Thanks for the link Bill - I'm going to pass it on :)


message 25: by Jason (new)

Jason (foreverjuly) | 176 comments Wow, I really enjoyed everyone's comments. Between telling people to grow an imagination and trying to rekindle the adventure of youth, I'd say it'd be impossible to construct a more bullet-proof argument.

It does make you think though, that question of what makes someone grow out of these stories. It's a little like not believing in Santa Claus anymore. Maybe it's the hard parts of life that make us grow up, but those are the same parts that make me want to recapture some of the magic of living even more.


message 26: by Chachic (new)

Chachic Thanks for the link, Bill! I'll pass it on as well.


Brittany (finally graduated and can once again read for fun) | 1328 comments Jason, are you suggesting Santa Claus isn't real?? He still comes to my house every year so I don't know what you're talking about. ;)


message 28: by Jason (new)

Jason (foreverjuly) | 176 comments Haha, definitely not Brittany! I'm just saying there are, sadly, other people out there who have lost touch with basic facts of the world like Santa Claus's existence. Milk and cookies don't vanish by themselves!


message 29: by Mary JL (new)

Mary JL (maryjl) | 43 comments I am 59 years of age and I still read YA! If a story is good, it's good regardless of the intended age group aimed at.

I do want to metion that for some readers though, they only YA the might have gotten as a child was different than today. There is a lot more GOOD YA out there, and many, many more choices. Perhaps some of the naysayers got exposed to a lot of formula or boring YA as a child and don't relzied things have changed.


message 30: by Becca (new)

Becca | 1608 comments I think there is also and entire cross-section of our culture that didn't get to read as kids. When you don't get to read as a kid, you tend to loose your imagination. So sad, but true. And when you loose your imagination, something like YA fiction just wouldn't appeal to your sense of the world.

Honestly, I have a hard time getting into and reading some genres in "Adult" literature because they are SO boring.

Also, it depends on what your end goal of reading is. My end goal has always been pleasure. I read for the fun of it and YA books are fun! Others read for learning, or so they can debate human psychology, or to learn more about the world around them, or whatever. These are all great reasons to read and I would totally encourage everyone to read for whatever reason they want to give, but they aren't my reasons.


Shannen *aka Mrs. Jericho Barrons* (shannybananny71) Becca made a very good point when she said it depends on what your goal is when you read. I only read for fun which is why YA books are so appealing to me.


message 32: by Bill (new)

Bill (reedye) | 42 comments There are a lot out there not quite what you'd call fun as well. The danger is supporting the belief that Y/A is fun which implies not serious and plays in to the hands of the naysayers. Some are fun yes as are some adult books. I loved If I Stay but it was hardly fun. plus Book Thief, Boy in the Striped Pyjamas and many many more which are thought provoking, intelligent, sometimes disturbing, powerful reads.


Brittany (finally graduated and can once again read for fun) | 1328 comments Excellent Jason, glad to know you're still a believer!

Bill, you bring up a good point as well, not everything is fun.

We also have to remember that YA didn't exist for a while, so some people might not have experienced that genre of books, not truly understanding the range.


Shannen *aka Mrs. Jericho Barrons* (shannybananny71) Didn't say that I only read fun books, just that I read for fun. You won't find me reading any educational books. ;)


message 35: by Jaimie (new)

Jaimie (jaimier) | 1275 comments Shannen wrote: "Didn't say that I only read fun books, just that I read for fun. You won't find me reading any educational books. ;)"

I'm with you Shannen. I read for fun and entertainment, not to further educate myself - not that I don't gain perspective or learn anything from the books I read.


Shannen *aka Mrs. Jericho Barrons* (shannybananny71) Jaimie wrote: "I'm with you Shannen. I read for fun and entertainment, not to further educate myself - not that I don't gain perspective or learn anything from the books I read."

Very well put, Jaimie. :)


message 37: by Becca (new)

Becca | 1608 comments I totally agree, I read for fun, for entertainment which is why I usually go for the YA books that are fun since fun adult books are slightly harder to come by. I've read thousands of books, some entertaining, some educational, some a waste of my life, but all in all, YA sticks with the subjects I enjoy and in a perspective I can appreciate.

Another reason I like YA fiction is that I don't run into as much crap as when I am reading adult fiction. Personally, I don't like reading about rape scenes, extreme vulgarity, extremely graphic or violent scenes or stuff of that nature. YA has less of it. I choose not to expose myself to crap, not that I don't see it on the news, but I find more crap in adult type literature.


message 38: by Bill (new)

Bill (reedye) | 42 comments Wasn't having a go Shannen, if it sounded like that, I read for fun too!


Shannen *aka Mrs. Jericho Barrons* (shannybananny71) Bill wrote: "Wasn't having a go Shannen, if it sounded like that, I read for fun too!"

Nope, I didn't think that at all, Bill. Just wanted to be clear. I do read a lot of fun books but some heavier stuff too. And if you read the threads around here enough, you'll know that I love books with happy endings. :)


message 40: by Sheila (new)

Sheila (sheilaj) I'll be the first to admit that one of the reasons I like YA is that they are shorter/quicker reads and if you are a little like I am with just a touch ADD they are just right to hold my interest/attention. I just finished Not My Daughter by Barbara Delinksy that was a little on the heavy side so now I am ready for a YA book or a cozy mystery.


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