Why I Usually Don't Like YA

by - 10:59 AM

The other day, I came to quite the startling conclusion.

The majority of the books I read are YA, but the majority of the books I like are not.

Out of my 30 all-time favorite books, only one or two are YA. Most are either Middle-Grade (ages 8-12) or adult.

You might not consider this startling, except that I'm a teenager. YA books are written specifically for people in my age group (and I read a ton of them), but pretty much none have ever stuck with me.

Why do I love so few YA books?

Imagine a tightrope, if you will. MG is one platform, adult is the other, and YA is the fragile string that connects them. YA books must toe the thin line between adult and MG. Their plots must be unique and enchanting without requiring much suspension of disbelief, if any. The characters must feel like adults without being adults. The books must have adult themes (note that I mean themes that require mental maturity to process, not necessarily themes that focus heavily on sex or violence) and treat the readers like intellectual equals to the author while at the same time enchanting and exciting us with raw delight and thrill. YA books must balance the appeal of MG with the very different appeal of adult, because we, the target audience, are so precariously balanced between those two age ranges. We're constantly shifting from one to the other since this is the time in our lives when there's the most mental growth. Plus, people at the young end of this age range are often wildly different from those at the old end.

And I think that that grey-area characteristic of YA is what makes it so easy to mess up and so hard for me to love it. When authors try to balance all this, it often feels like they're trying too hard. That strained and almost fake quality seeps through almost every YA book I've ever read, in varying degrees. (For example, it was rife in Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones but almost nonexistent (a rarity) in Carry On by Rainbow Rowell.) It's so frequent that a YA book is too childish for me in some parts, too adult in others, and trying too hard all over. 

That being said, I know there are tons of people - from ten-year-olds to adults - who love YA! So maybe this is partially just me?

Let's chat! What's your favorite age range? What are your thoughts on YA - the direction it's going, your favorite and least favorite things about the genre, etc? Comment below, and have an awesome day. <3


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  1. I do agree a lot of YA is the same, and that's something that irks me, too. Like, yes, we get that there's a love triangle and a brooding male lead but how is this different than every other novel set up in this way? *face palm*

    xoxo Abigail Lennah | ups & downs

  2. Ugh, totally with you that YA has too many clichés!


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