Sunday, August 11, 2019

7 Reasons I Enjoy Young Adult Novels

I can’t believe I haven’t written about this yet. I mean, come on, what am I thinking!?

So I know Young Adult (YA) fiction isn’t technically a genre. If we’re going to be technical and all, it’s more of a target audience. (For those unfamiliar with bookish terms, bookworms refer to young adults as those ages 13-18, not 18-24.) I guess you could say I find myself drawn to books for teenagers.

Here are just a few reasons why.

1) YA novels aren’t as dense as some of the other books on my TBR list.

For example, I really, thoroughly enjoy Les Miserables and Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell but my goodness! Why are they so LONG?

Often times, YA novels range between 250-350 pages. Every now and then, one might border on 400, and rarely 800. (I’m looking at you, Inheritance and Order of the Phoenix.) With this length, it’s so much easier to pick shorter books up, carry them around, and read them in one sitting.

Just a few perfectly short novels include but are not limited to:

The Giver by Lois Lowry at 208 pages (arguably middle grade, but I’m lumping it with young adult here)
We Were Liars by E. Lockhart at 242 pages (see book review)
A Thousand Perfect Notes by C. G. Drews at 282 pages (see book review)

2) They’re engaging, easy reads.

Sometimes, I don’t like to work to understand a book. Some days, I just want a story to sweep me away so that I forget I’m reading at all.

For example, when I was walking the Camino, I was torn between reading a sci-fi novel or a YA contemporary. I figured I’d read the first page of each and see which one I preferred. I read then put down the sci-fi novel. Then I picked up the contemporary, and before I knew it, I was on chapter two. For anybody wondering, that book was Kids Like Us, and you can check out my book review here.

3) The themes are more complex in young adult novels than in middle grade ones.

I sense another post coming on…

Until then, I like how in-depth young adult novels can be. From stories about found families to those that confront toxic stereotypes, YA is one of the most dynamic target audiences. While there are still areas that need improving (ease up on the romance, please, I’m begging you!), you don’t have to go far to find great themes.

Just a few YA novels with excellent themes include the following:

Goodbye Days by Jeff Zentner (see book review)
Fawkes by Nadine Brandes (see book review)
The Art of Feeling by Laura Tims

4) Reading YA makes me feel young.

I mean, I’m still young, but technically I “aged out” of being the target audience six years ago. Do you think that’s going to stop me from reading books about high schoolers? Haha, nope. I’ve never fit in with my age group. What makes you think I’m going to start now?

It’s also fun to read YA novels and then force them on recommend them to my sister. Once she reads them, we can geek out together. It’s a lot of fun! And by fun, I mean she just about killed me when she accidentally spoiled Our Dark Duet (Monsters of Verity, book 2) for herself.

5) YA introduced me to so many amazing genres.

If I hadn’t read as much YA as I do, I probably wouldn’t have discovered some amazing books. I started off enjoying fantasy and animal stories. Now, I don’t read as many animal stories, and I still enjoy fantasy, but thanks to YA, I’ve also discovered novels in verse (So. Much. YES!), historical fiction, realistic contemporary, and even some classics.

I could use more YA sci-fi, though. I am now accepting recommendations. Please, and thank you.

6) YA novels can be empowering.

Another thing I like about this category is how it’s so hopeful. That’s not to say that every book is about hope—sometimes it’s downright depressing. But overall, YA is full of characters taking action rather than bemoaning their lives.

You want to change the world? Go do it!

A few YA novels that have empowered me:

A List of Cages by Robin Roe
Audacity by Melanie Crowder (see book review)
Starfish by Akemi Dawn Bowman

7) Reading YA can be addicting.

You know how I mentioned I read two chapters without realizing it? Well, sometimes that happens with books and series too. YA can be really easy to get hooked on.

When I finished my M.A. in English Lit, for months on end, I almost read nothing but YA. Since I’ve finished with my degrees for the moment, I’ve gone back to reading more classics and nonfiction, but YA is still my go-to, especially when I step into a bookstore or library.

8) Bonus: I like to write YA.

Apparently, I can’t count.

The best type of research is experience. If you want to know what it’s like to go skydiving, do it. If you want to know what it’s like to be a teenager, use the quantum void to become a teenager again. I mean… um… you know, reading YA fiction helps. So does spending time with young adults.

There you have it! Just a few reasons why I read what I read and why I post so many reviews about YA novels.

Let’s chat! Where are my fellow YA readers? How about YA writers? What are some of your favorite elements of YA? Any that I missed? Have any sci-fi recommendations?


Literary references: Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables, Susanna Clarke’s Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, Christopher Paolini’s Inheritance, J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Lois Lowry’s The Giver, E. Lockhart’s We Were Liars, C. G. Drews’ A Thousand Perfect Notes, Hilary Reyl’s Kids Like Us, Jeff Zentner’s Goodbye Days by Jeff Zentner, Nadine Brandes’ Fawkes, Laura Tim’s The Art of Feeling, Victoria Schwab’s Our Dark Duet, Robin Roe’s A List of Cages, Melanie Crowder’s Audacity, and Akemi Dawn Bowman’s Starfish

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