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Why Read YA?

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I usually get looks when I am out reading, or when I talk about my most beloved section in the store. The sort of quizzical stares usually reserved for such questions as “Why?” or “Still?” are often cast my way. The idea that an adult woman would still be reading in the Young Adult section doesn’t sit right with a surprising amount of people. So I find myself spending many rainy bookstore days contemplating possible reasons for that, and thinking about my own reasons for being an avid consumer of YA lit.

For the most part, I think the issue people have with YA is that they think it is somehow far more juvenile than the rest of literature. People often dismiss YA stories as one-note, lacking substance or complexity. To those people I can only say that you must certainly never have read a YA book, or at least never the right ones. So many YA books are doing things we just don’t see in adult lit. To belittle the complexity of these stories aimed at a young adult audience is to deeply disrespect the very real struggles of so many people. I would highly recommend reading THE HATE U GIVE by Angie Thomas, or TRAGIC KIND OF WONDERFUL by Eric Lindstrom. Both depict real-life struggles, and are excellent examples of how the problems young adults face are intense and real, and deeply relatable.  

We often underestimate teens and women, and infantilize their interests, without taking care with our judgements. Such seems to be the case in YA, where the readership is overwhelmingly female. It begins to feel as though reading is a contest of elitism, and a bit of a gentleman’s club, especially in fantasy. Whereas YA is open and hungry for diverse voices, adult lit seems to lag behind in the volume of stories and #ownvoices work about marginalized people. 

Beyond that, many people who have experienced trauma or suppression in their adolescence, find solace in YA. When you are never given the chance to experience the teenage years you deserve, these stories can provide an immense feeling of relief. LGBTQIA+ people in many cases feel this deeply, as our identity is often tragically suppressed in our formative years.

Begone the days of women bashfully coming to the counter to purchase a YA novel, shame on their faces, and an excuse on their lips. Please come on by the store and talk YA with me! There needn’t be any shame in reading, and I love the company. Always remember that the stories you love are valid, no matter your age. 

Here are some recommendations to get you started!

Strange the Dreamer Cover Image
ISBN: 9780316341677
Availability: NOT IN STOCK - Usually arrives in 3 - 7 business days
Published: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers - May 22nd, 2018

Six of Crows Cover Image
ISBN: 9781250076960
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Square Fish - February 6th, 2018

Blanca & Roja Cover Image
ISBN: 9781250162717
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Feiwel & Friends - October 9th, 2018

Sawkill Girls Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062696601
Availability: NOT IN STOCK - Usually arrives in 3 - 7 business days
Published: Katherine Tegen Books - October 2nd, 2018

The Raven Boys (The Raven Cycle, Book 1) Cover Image
ISBN: 9780545424936
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Scholastic Paperbacks - July 30th, 2013

The Wicked Deep Cover Image
ISBN: 9781481497343
Availability: NOT IN STOCK - Usually arrives in 3 - 7 business days
Published: Simon Pulse - March 6th, 2018

Dear Martin Cover Image
ISBN: 9781101939529
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Ember - September 4th, 2018

It's Kind of a Funny Story Cover Image
ISBN: 9780786851973
Availability: NOT IN STOCK - Usually arrives in 3 - 7 business days
Published: Disney-Hyperion - May 1st, 2007