Wednesday, February 6, 2013

The Age of Reading; Forever YA?

Ever since I was a kid, I've read books for an older age group than mine. I actually didn't like picture books very much as a kid. I found them to be boring and I wasn't interested in books at all until I was old enough to read chapter books. Junie B. Jones was one of the first "chapter" books I read. It was about a kid younger than me, in kindergarten, which didn't bother me much but the next chapter books I got into were about twelve year-olds when I was seven so about a five year gap.

Ever since then, I've consistently read about people older than me. I started to move away from MG in grades 4/5 and by grade 6 I was reading entirely YA. Now, I stick to YA but occasionally will read a MG book (especially if it's by this guy).

Now, I've been reading teen for about five years and again, I can see myself shifting in age. I'm 16 and most YA books are either about characters or aimed towards people a little older, a little younger, or just around this age. When I was younger, I remember loving to read about the first years of high school. I used to always wonder what it was like and the only way I could imagine it even semi-accurately (beyond watchin those shows my mom called "garbage") was to read about it. Now, I've been in high school for three years. I haven't been accepted into Hogwarts (*sobs*) and I don't read those types of books anymore. Once again, my interests or reading levels has shifted upwards.

These days I don't want to read young YA. I've been through that stage, I kind of hate that age, and now I'm wandering more towards books about growing up. If I'm reading a contemporary, it's not about fitting in any more but how to stand out. I read more about becoming an adult, saying goodbye to high school and opening up to university. It's awkward for me sometimes to read about characters noticeably younger. I can't read about 11 year olds as a 16 year old. I find it odd, and also really sad because I remember being 11 and thinking that 12 was this magical age where everything awesome would happen to you. It's not an unpleasant reading experience, but it is a little strange to have a literary crush on a guy even two years younger, which is why I don't connect as well to those books.

Books have always been a source of comfort to me. I've always reminded myself that no matter how sucky anything in my life is, at least it's not as bad as ________'s life when they had to _________ and ended up losing _________.  YA books in particular have done a lot. I owe a lot of my personality and maturity to the YA genre and everything it has taught me.That's why I wonder sometimes if I'll still read YA in the future.

I know a lot of people do. And a lot of you guys make some pretty spectacular blogs with wonderful reviews and features. As much as YA is supposed to be for teens, the YA blogosphere would not be where it is today if it weren't for the "adults" that keep reading YA. You know, the +20 up are a huge demographic blogging-wise and probably when it comes to book sales too. Since y'all actually have some sort of income.

So naturally, being the annoyingly over analytic person that I am, I wonder if I'll stick with YA for life. If when I'm 30 (I don't want to imagine this) I'll still care about the books that made me who I was as a teen in what I'm told are some of the most formative years of life.

As of this moment, I have nothing to worry about. There's plenty in YA that interests me and I don't see that changing for a while. If it ever does change, I don't think it'll be sudden. It'll be more of a progression towards more mature books and I'm not there yet. Nonetheless, I still do wonder.

I know it's not one or the other; teen or adult; but even now I find it hard to figure out what I'd like in the MG world, so I end up not reading any of it.

So I have some question for teens reading YA; do you think you'll continue to do so when you're not in the YA age group anymore? And for you older YA fans, what makes you stick around? Is it a conscious decision? Do you primarily read YA or do you read a mix?

I know people often do posts about this subject so if you already have written a post about why you read YA feel free to link it in the comments.

1 comment:

  1. Suuuuuch a great post! It's really interesting to hear your perspective, your feelings about protagonists of varying ages and the issues they face.

    Truth is, since YA didn't really rise up as such a powerful category until after we had all passed our teenhoods, it's hard to say whether we would have felt the same as you or not. (We suspect we would have, though.)

    All we can say is that when you're young, you spend a lot of time thinking about the future. But the older you get, the more you have to reflect on. The more you look to the past to help you understand the present, and guide you through the future. So maybe YA helps us do that. Helps us reconnect with our younger selves -- and OK, live vicariously through more exciting stories. ;)

    On a related note, we wonder if the infamous New Adult category is going to help satiate readers like you. People who grew up on YA but need the next step, and crave a bridge into adult literature. And by New Adult, we don't mean erotica that happens to star characters between the ages of 18 and 26. We mean the literature that genuinely examines the unique transition from teenhood to adulthood, and that makes use of the best of both worlds (i.e., YA lit and adult).


Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...