Am I Growing Out of YA?

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Okay, so this came out of my brain after I decided that I didn’t love the TTT post this week. I was thinking about book lists and what I have loved so far this year and I realized… there is a lot less YA on there than I would expect. I mean… YA fantasy is my favorite right? So I got to thinking…

am I growing out of it?

I want to disclaimer really quick that I think everyone should read whatever the hell they want and not be shamed by it. Crack open that bodice ripper on the train or plane. You want to read a Dr. Seuss book? Read it all the places you will go. And please, PLEASE, please, don’t shame someone else.

This article on Bustle.com is skewed toward Americans because that is what I found quickly. And I’m not claiming to be a researcher here. It says that the average American reads 12 books per year. That is counting those of us who read 100-200, so let’s look at median, which is 4 books per year. That’s awesome, but think about how this NewYorkTimes.com article says Americans are on their phones, watching TV, on social etc. over 10 hours per day. WHOA. I believe it, but think about that.

These are the people shaming you for reading your bodice ripper. So don’t let them get you down!

Okay, so that was the long way for me to tell you that I am a 31 year old who reads YA and I refuse to be shamed. I display my books proudly.

But lately, I feel like I am getting more from the adult books. Red Rising and The Song of Achilles were my two favorites this year. Yes, I have YA in that list, but they are what I consider older YA. Kingsbane, while YA, is a lot rougher than A Sorcery of Thorns. Yes, I enjoyed them both, but A Sorcery of Thorns felt closer to middle grade for me, while Kingsbane was 100% the most mind-bendy thing that I loved. And *gasp* KB is borderline adult.

I think this is why we all want the New Adult categorization to be utilized more by authors. There wouldn’t need to be this “is ACOTAR really YA?” conversation. I think they are NA, but have been forced into the YA category because publishing thinks that there is no market for NA.

Obviously, me wanting that category to expand isn’t going to make it happen and I don’t expect it to. So I think the answer to my question is yes and no. I have grown out of the YA books that lean toward middle grade. They are fantastic, but I just do not enjoy them as much. And guess what? My 30 something year old friends still do and that is fantastic!

Again, read what you love.

Moving forward, I will be more picky about the books I choose because these are the books that I just can’t fangirl with people about. That’s half the fun right? I need to live by my “read what you want” motto and move on from the younger YA books.

It’s a sad, sad day folks.


What do you think? Are you growing out of a genre or are you in it for life?

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25 thoughts on “Am I Growing Out of YA?

  1. I’m a thirty something and still love my YA books! But I know that some people do look down on adults that read ya and I feel sorry for them because it’s a mark of their own insecurities. YA is such a rewarding genre filled with interesting stories. I do feel sometimes that there are some authors that make me feel old and have me questioning from time to time if I do still love the genre (Kasie West for example, her books always make me feel ancient lol) but then I read other ya and completely love it and feel all the feels. I don’t think I’ll ever give up on the genre as a whole. Great post!! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh I feel this. I used to be such a fan of Sarah Dessen back in high school, but now I can’t handle the immaturity of some of her characters- which makes me feel like the old fogey yelling “hey you kids, stay off my lawn!” Anyway, I really enjoyed this post- I’m not surprised about being on the phone for 10 hours a day, but when you think of that and how much reading you could accomplish in that time, it’s really mindblowing! And I love that statement that no matter what you read, you shouldn’t be ashamed! Totally agree!!

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  3. My reading tastes are always changing. The more I read, the more I learn what type of writing I like. As long as the writing fits the type I like, I can read almost any genre. Good writing is good writing.
    If you’re looking to transition from YA to NA, there are a ton of great mature YA reads out there.
    The whole new adult topic always frustrates me because there are a ton of great NA books out there — they’re just indie published. I know they’re mostly romance, but that’s because the sub genre began there. I think people really just have to look for the kind of books they want to read. I would recommend Corine Mekaouche’s Last Semester if you’re looking for college but not romance. I would also recommend Ginger Scott’s books, especially The Hard Count or A Boy Like You. They’re more mature YA. If you’re specifically looking for fantasy NA, Bad Princess by Julianna Keyes was good. You could also check Raven’s blog (https://dreamyaddictions.wordpress.com/category/blog/). She reviews a lot of NA fantasy.

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  4. I totally agree with this. I think I’ll always read YA because good books are good books no matter where they fit categorically. But the older I get the more I can feel myself drifting farther away from the genre. To me it feels like the kinds of fantasy stories I love used to be exclusively in the YA section, but now adult authors are branching out more into those kinds of stories. Like Jay Kirstoff and VE Schwab. Then again, maybe I’m just paying better attention now that I’m older? Idk, but I totally feel you. And I really really REALLY wish NA was bigger! Sometimes YA feels like it’s getting too large and I think making NA more prominent might help.

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  5. Great post! You know- NA had once been a thing until it magically disappeared from the face of the book universe. We´ve since then been exposed to a sort of a black and white genre/sub-genre spectrum. I used to read lots of NA books back when it was a thing ( 10 – ish years ago ). Now? It feels like there´s only YA and Erotica ( as an extreme example ). YA is so damn multi-faceted these days. You could be onto something about the growing out of bit. Personally, I think my mind is demanding something with a little more substance. I´m 37 yrs old. And I´m the type of reader who, on some ( or any ) level, needs to relate to a character / a situation/actions ( if that makes sense ). If I get a proper YA read then I can distance myself from my need and just enjoy the story for what it is. If it´s a YA & NA mashup with quality graphic scenes then I´ll start to involve my needs AND reading standards because I´m presented with something that fits more my NA bill.
    As for being shamed for loving a certain genre or books – Mind-boggling that anyone would shame someone for their tastes. HA! I have a post scheduled with the worst book convos I´ve had ( and there´s some nasty genre shaming there as well ). * sigh * Again, your post is ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, I like NA books, but it feels like so many of them are romance-focused with a side of fantasy. I want that flipped.
      YA is going to be it for me, at least the “older” YA books along with a good dose of adult fiction.

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  6. I’m 37 years old and I discovered YA as a genre just last year and I’ve been hooked! I love the fantasy, the romance, the adventure, the spunky characters and it felt so refreshing from the usual family secret drama or detective books that I was reading earlier. I decided then that I won’t stick to any one genre because I’m losing out on so much! So now I read whatever I fancy, or based on reviews and recommendations from fellow readers. Heck I’ve even given manga a try and I kid you not, I was really impressed with the first two volumes of death note that I read😊📚 Reading is simply a passion and I’ll read anything that touches my heart 😊

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  8. Sheree @ Keeping Up With The Penguins

    Hmmm, interesting thought! The impression I get (hope I’m not overstepping in a nosy Nelly type of way) is not so much that you’re “growing out” of YA, but more that your tastes are shifting, and not necessarily permanently? I tend to think of book preferences like a tide – they come and go. I’m highly suspicious of anyone who says that they have a permanent and immutable preference (for books, or for anything, really) because that just doesn’t jive with my experience. But it doesn’t really matter, I suppose – the main thing is that you love what you read, whatever that is! No shame, no fear! 😍💪

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  10. Great post, Jess! I am also in my 30s and enjoy reading YA but do find that I don’t quite enjoy the lower-end of YA. Honestly? The reason I love YA fantasy/science fiction is it tends to be more diverse and have a style of writing which I enjoy. Adult SFF is still very white cishet male dominated. I honestly feel like publishers encourage female writers especially to age down their characters because “YA is more marketable.” Which sucks, I want YA-style stories with older protags so I don’t feel like a creep for swooning over a teenager.

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