This meme was created for YA Midnight Reads as a discussion post of all things bookish.
As a lot of you are YA bloggers, I’m sure almost all of you have experienced or witnessed the stigma of YA before.
“You read that?”
“Surely, you’d like something with more depth.”
“You’re reading YA? You must be reading something to do with vampires.”
YA has been definitely given a bad reputation over the years. It’s been called mindless, devoid of any deep meaning, arbitrary, fluff, mindless and even not “real” literature. I think some of this stems from the fact that a few more popular YA books have been written that may not set the best standard and example of YA. Some people see these books and immediately think all of YA must be as bad as the example. I think this thinking is definitely flawed, because how can one book truly define an whole genre? It really doesn’t make any sense of all to rule out the possibility of greatness in YA due to one book. Even though it doesn’t make sense, I feel like that’s what a lot of critics due. They read one bad example of YA and then go on to ostracize the entire genre.
It also puts brings another issue to light: the negative perception of teenagers. If it wasn’t enough that there’s a few popular negative examples of YA, there’s the whole concept that it’s marketed towards teens. That we’re all a bunch of uncultured hooligans who are nothing but hormonal troublemakers. It sounds truly laughable when you think consider that stereotype, right? Again, we’re judging an whole age group based on a few bad eggs. Still this perception is still believed by some and ingrained in the media. There’s just some things that teenagers wouldn’t understand you know. That’s why they have YA and we have adult fiction. It’s a truly pretentious way of thinking.
I do understand the separation between the adult and YA genres and why it exists. Obviously certain books are marketed to certain age groups based on what the target would be interested. So, a book where a 64 year old deals with her failing marriage may not as be relatable to a teen than say a book revolving around a teen who is in highschool and struggling. There’s just issues that certain age groups are able to connect to better and that makes sense. What doesn’t make sense to me is why one age group would look down on another or consider one to be on a lower intellectual level. There’s more fluffy and less emotionally complex novels in both genres so why does one genre get judged for being meaningless?
As I’ve read a lot of YA, I can truly say that the greatness does definitely exist in the genre and often times doesn’t receive the attention it deserves. YA isn’t all about sparkly vampires, it can touch on some deep and meaningful issues just like adult fiction. Simon vs. The Homo-Sapien’s Agenda deals with sexuality within the complete scrutiny of those closest to you, Wanderlove deals with a girl who finds herself through travel and Before I Fall takes you on a bittersweet realization of what you may be leaving behind. All of these books are dealing with complex (and dare I say it) adult themes and issues. The genre of YA is actually full of meaning and is worthwhile. I just listed three books randomly that I’ve marked as read on Goodreads. It goes without saying that there’s so many more young adult books out there that deal with serious emotions and issues.
I read young adult because I can not only relate to it but because the genre truly has a lot of well written books. In my mind it’s clear that YA authors deserve just as much praise as those who write adult fiction. The publishing process is the same and I definitely don’t believe that one is easier than the other. Writing is a difficult task, no doubt about it. I appreciate every writer out there for their creative minds and works. That’s why the fact that some young adult authors have been faced with the stigma of YA boggles my mind. I would just like to let any authors who may be reading this know: you’re amazing at what you do. You have strung words together into something really beautiful. Your work is definitely “real” literature to me and many others. Don’t feel discouraged by the negativity.
I hope that none of the readers of this blog feel ashamed for reading YA due to the stigma. You should never be ashamed for being passionate about something, whether it be young adult fiction or watching Disney movies over and over. If it makes you happy, then great! Please do continue to enjoy the things you love and know, that while there may be judgmental people out there, at YA Midnight Reads you’ll never be judged on what you love.
Have you ever felt the stigma of YA/been judged for reading YA?
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