Not Young Enough for Young Adult Books?
In the publishing industry Young Adult books are supposed to be written for, marketed to and sold to audiences of 13-19 years of age. I’ve nearly reached the cut off date. However, as with all age limits, this one gets ignored quite a lot. Adults over 20 often find themselves delving into Young Adult, and that’s 100% okay! It’s more than okay, actually, it’s brilliant. Literature is something that has no expiry date and that includes the readers. It’s just not for me.
I’ve come to realise that books aren’t original; they can’t be. There’s just too much material out there now for someone to come up with something that has never been seen before. That’s why you see so many books that claim that they’re ‘the next gone girl’ or ‘harry potter and the hunger games in one book’. They’re not exactly the same but, as the publishers point out, they’re not exactly different either. Publishers know what people like, so they print it. People know what they like, and they want more of it.
Don’t get me wrong, I still love reading and reviewing YA. However, I have come to realise that I need to be a lot more selective and cautious about the books I buy. Love triangles? Nope. Unhealthy, controlling relationships that masquerade as true love? Nope. What about books that slut-shame? Nope. Books that include token diversity? Nope. Or books that make all POC villains? Also nope.
But what if I like the girl-girl support in a book with an unhealthy relationship? Or the representation in a book with a complex love triangle? I turn to adult fiction. There’s such a wider variety of books in the genre and there’s bound to be a book with similar themes without the thing that I don’t like. Of course, it won’t be replicated to a tee but the idea will be there. I won’t have to sit through something toxic in order to be satisfied with what I’m reading.
(not saying that YA books are toxic, a lot of adult books are too, I’m just saying that the tropes I don’t like are less likely to be in adult books)
Length is also a big factor. Adult books are allowed to be long. They’re allowed the space to create complex worlds, characters and motivations whereas YA has limits. It takes a long time and an established author (see: Leigh Bardugo) for a publishing house to even consider letting them write massive books. This makes it hard for so many people. Or hey, maybe I just want more fabulous storytelling but don’t want to wait another year for another 300 pages. Adult fiction fulfils that because their restrictions aren’t as harsh.
Of course, I don't want to generalise. There are thousands of good YA books that do meet all of my expectations for adult books and I'm still going to be reading those. This isn't a complete shun of YA. However, as discussed in the video below, a lot of YA just doesn't have as much for me as the adult genre does. It's still extremely entertaining to read, but some books don't have enough for me to fully enjoy it.
Does YA still have the same appeal for you? Let me know down in the comments!