Monday, July 31, 2017

Bookish Discussion: Reading YA as a Young Adult

I began reading Young Adult fiction at the age of nine. Eight years later, I still love the genre and I could not imagine my childhood and teen years without it. My journey with YA has granted me the opportunity to fall in love with and relate to characters that I could see myself finding at school. I was also able to expand my horizon and dream of visiting some of the places my favorite characters have visited. Reading has allowed me to visit new places and attend amazing events, such as San Diego Comic-Con, and make friends I never would have met otherwise. In addition, reading also allowed me to escape the real world whenever I need to. 

Although reading YA has been a crucial part of my life and I am forever grateful for the opportunities it has granted me, reading YA has also led me to disappointment within the genre. When it comes to Young Adult books, particularly ones that feature a high school setting, teens are not always represented properly. Many YA authors have been out of high school for many years and that is easily noticed by some of the language used by their characters. I am glad that some of the dumb phrases that have become popular among my peers are not always present in YA books. Some authors write dialogue used by the teens in their books that is very unrealistic. Although I assume it is not intentional, many authors, in my opinion, degrade teens by using a small vocabulary and one-syllable responses. While I can tell you the names of several students that I know who use language like that, I dislike the fact that all teenagers are portrayed in that manner in certain YA books. Some actions teens do in YA books are also rather juvenile. While high school experiences vary depending on the individual, I dislike that many authors seem to think that teens are idiots. We make mistakes and slip-up at times, but we are young adults. We should be treated with the benefit of the doubt that we are not all idiots. I wish teens had the ability to read manuscripts of novels and help authors make YA books more accurate. While a multitude of readers enjoy YA books, the genre is meant for young adult readers. I wish young adult readers had the ability to have the genre feature real issues faced by young adults, not issues older writers think we have.

Another difficulty I have with reading YA is my inability to attend bookish events. While I have been fortunate enough to attend bookish conventions across the country, I am constantly unable to attend bookish events within my state. Most book tour author signings are held on school nights. Understandably, publishers and authors need to promote the book and have it sell as many copies as possible during the first week; however, I live two hours away from the nearest city that scarcely holds events. I also live five hours from Philadelphia, which holds a multitude of events, but I can never make it to an event on time in Philly if I leave directly after school. Unlike some adults who attend, I am unable to call off. School happens whether or not I am there. I love reading and meeting authors, but my education comes first. I wish that events mainly occurred on weekends so teens living hours from the event have an opportunity to attend.

Another aspect of reading YA that I face problems with is being a book blogger. I constantly stress myself out because I am unable to post regularly during the school year. When I have school work piling up, a soccer game to record the statistics, and work, blogging takes a back seat. I constantly think about other bloggers that are able to post regularly, but I always have to remind myself that many of them are adults who are dedicated to blogging or are simply able to multi-task better than me. As a result of my inconsistent blogging, my stats are not where publishers want them to be in order for them to send advanced and finished copies of books to me. While adult bloggers deserve to receive advanced and finished copies of books, I wish more teenage bloggers have access to them. Both adult and young adult readers are able to relate from experiences in YA novels, but the emotions and events of being a teen are more relatable to the teenage YA audience. Teenage young adult bloggers are able to provide a better insight for other young adult readers than adults are.

This discussion has been building in my brain for the past few years and I hope you were able to relate to it. No matter my reservations with reading YA, I love the genre and I will forever be reading it. Please continue this discussion in the comments below and if you are a teenage young adult blogger, please link your blog in the comments as well. I want to follow more blogs, particularly ones run by YA readers that are teenagers.

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