Why I Read YA at 30


If you've been anywhere around the publishing industry in the last decade, you know that YA has become a hot ticket. For some people, it was a Twilight-era fad that quickly faded as soon as the dystopian stories were played out, but for others, reading YA is a lifestyle. I, Vicky Skinner, am 30 years old. I am no longer the primary target for YA novels, and that's fine. However, YA is still my favorite genre, and I want to briefly discuss why.

There are a lot of reasons why YA might appeal to someone. There's the chance to relive the glory days of high school for someone who enjoyed high school, or for someone like me who didn't enjoy high school, it's a chance to see a fictional character handling that part of their life differently. There's also the fact that YA for someone who is no longer a YA, YA can be a bit of an escape from the pressures of adulthood (bills, marriage, children, etc).

But the reason I often pick YA over adult literature is the emotion involved. One thing that's almost always true of YA is that it focuses heavily on emotional connection and emotional impact where an adult novel might choose not to. This isn't a flaw of adult novels. It's what makes the genre what it is. Adult characters have more experience with life. They're often more focused on responsibilities than they are their emotions. Emotions get pushed aside because when you're an adult, they often can't come into play in decision-making. If they did, the world would be a mess.

But YAs don't usually have the same burden of responsibility that adults do, so their primary focus is their emotions. And they FEEL everything so intensely. For teens, most of the emotions they're experiencing, they're experiencing for the FIRST time. This makes that experience more acute. First love, first heartbreak, first tragedy, first successes. These experiences will be felt more than any others because they're the first. Teens in YA novels often don't want to hide their feelings. They have no reason to. But adults in adult novels, they often find reasons to push emotion aside.

I love the focus on feelings and emotions in a YA. Whether we want to believe it or not, so much of our lives are dependent on the choices we made when we were teenagers, and that makes YA literature absolutely pivotal.


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