Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Why I Love YA Books

So, recently I've been seeing a lot of blog posts and articles with people defending their choice to read more Young Adult books than anything else, and I want to chip in with my opinion. Because I can.

I'm 22, so I'm not the target demographic for YA books (that's another post in itself, because the term YA annoys me because it refers to teenagers, and the new shiny New Adult label is what I think YA should be, but for now let's say I mean the same thing as the rest of the world does when they refer to YA literature). As a teenager, though, I actually didn't read that much YA. I read Harry Potter, of course, and the Twilight books, but not a whole lot else. I went through a whole stage where I only read classic books - North and South, Dracula, Little Women - and others that are probably considered more worthy literature. Now, though, I read YA almost exclusively. In fact, the adult books I've read recently have been quite disappointing, and I think I know what the problem is.

I need to have strong characters and a strong plot. I hate reading a book that only has one of these - it feels like such a wasted opportunity. And as for books that don't really have either, books that are more about the writing than anything else, I can't bear it. And that's the huge difference between YA and adult books - because of this belief (misconception, in my opinion) that teenagers have really short attention spans, YA books try harder to keep your interest. They have a faster pace and a stronger story, and often stronger characters as well. Normally, trying too hard is a bad thing, but I think in this case, it improves the books. It makes them more to my taste, at least. There are fewer long descriptive passages, for a start. I often feel like the writing of YA books is just tighter than that of books written for adults, that every word serves a purpose and nothing is there without a good reason.

I'm sure lots of people feel that writing in YA books is too stripped down, that good writing has been lost on the way to a good story - and sometimes that's true - but right now I'd rather read a Young Adult book than anything else. I don't necessarily feel like I need to defend this choice, though I often end up doing so, and the quality of YA books varies just as much as books of any other type, but I do think that at this point, YA books just fit the mould of what I want to read better than anything else.

What about? What do you find yourself reading more than anything else these days? Do you ever feel like you have to defend your reading choices? And, actually, if you have a Kindle, are you reading books now that you might have been embarrassed to be seen with a hard copy of, where everyone could see the cover and know what you were reading?

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