You may have noticed the trend of young adult (YA) books on social media. Reviewers on social media, especially BookTube (the branch of YouTube dedicated to book-related content), are always recommending YA books to their followers despite not fitting into the target demographic. In fact, one study even reports that over 50% of YA readers are over the age of 18, with adults from the ages of 30-44 making up 28% of all YA sales!
So here is our list of why adults read YA, and why you should, too!
They’re often shorter, easier reads.
Adult readers may not be able to find the time to read a 500+ page book. Because YA is geared towards a younger audience, the books often sit at lower page counts, and the writing style is more simple. The books are easy to get into, tell compelling stories, and do so in less pages with less words. It’s much easier to pick up a YA book on a fifteen minute break than it is to pick up Tolkien or King.
YA is a female-dominated space with room for diversity.
It’s no secret that there are a lot of books written by men and about men. Of course these books are also good, but it can be refreshing to enter a literary sphere that is dominated by women. With female writers and female characters, the YA genre is a space where women can see themselves represented in their own stories.
And even outside of female representation, YA books tend to explore diversity that a lot of adult fiction tends to ignore. There are a multitude of books centering around characters with who are LGBT, non-white, part of religious minorities, immigrants, disabled, and more. Stories that have historically been brushed aside are not only told in YA, but celebrated.
Do we ever stop coming-of-age?
Alright, so you might not be graduating high school anymore, but the feeling of change and growing up is a constant. The problems the main characters face might be issues of the past for you, but the emotions that link to those problems are relatable.
The main character is graduating and moving out for the first time? Moving from one phase of life to another is something adults do, too. The main character is stressing over who to bring to the prom? Romance is complicated no matter how old you are. Even if the specific plot points of a YA novel are not relatable anymore, the intensity of a young person’s feelings when faced with a new problem is easy to understand no matter how old you are.
YA tackles intense topics in a way that is optimistic and hopeful.
Despite popular belief, YA is not just about high school drama and romance. YA books deal with complicated topics, including racism, sexuality, violence, abuse, and more through the lens of teenage protagonists.
The youthful perspective these books bring to the topics they choose to handle is refreshing. Not only that, but YA books often tackle these issues with the mindset of fixing them. Instead of “racism is bad, but that’s just the way the world is!” characters will take active steps to better themselves and their communities. This optimism is a great thing-- it teaches even adults that though the world can be tough, it can be made better.
It often overlaps with genre fiction.
If you don’t like contemporary books, no worries! YA is much more than that. YA also comes in crime thrillers, horror, sci-fi, and everything else you can imagine! The YA fantasy subgenre in particular has gained great popularity in recent years.
No matter what type of books you like, you will always be able to find something you like in YA.
YA is good.
So, maybe there are a few more serious reasons that adults read YA, but this is probably the real reason for most people. YA is just worth reading. There are thousands of well-written, interesting, emotional, creative stories waiting to be read. So what are you waiting for?
Are you sold on YA yet? Check out these recommendations (in no particular order)!