My Perspective on YA, part 1

Posted June 28, 2013 by Stormy in Books / 17 Comments


During Armchair BEA, I shared one day that I actually read very little YA when I WAS a teenager and looked down on it as a type of book.You know those comments and jokes that cause us bloggers to shake our heads and turn to go the other way? Yeah, in high school, I would have totally been someone saying some of those things about YA and yes, probably those who read it(not some of my proudest moments).

So as a follow up to that, I thought I’d share some of my perspective on YA. Originally, this was going to be one post. Then I wrote my personal history with YA and that alone was pretty long, so I’d thought I’d split it up. I have a lot to say about my personal perspective on YA, so it’ll probably be easier for both me and you, dear reader, if I don’t write a 2,000 word essay on the blog.

Let me just say, in high school I was a total snob when it came to reading. I’ve already said I didn’t read YA, but it was more than that. Even with adult fiction, I read almost nothing but complete literary fiction and non-fiction(I’ve always been a fan of memoirs). I was always the one to score the highest on reading & English test in my class at school(including tests like the ACT), so I had this idea that I had to be reading SERIOUS stuff almost all the time(don’t try and follow the logic). The only exceptions were for childhood favorites like Harry Potter. And yes, I was one of those people that looked down on genre fiction too. And while I love literary fiction, I’m glad I expanded my genres.  The ONLY YA I read in high school was The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, which I read on a vacation because I was sick and needed to do something with myself(though I did enjoy it).

So there’s my starting point. After leaving high school, the only things I thought of when it came to YA was fluffy reads. And while there’s nothing wrong with fluffy reads, they weren’t what I wanted at the time. The book that brought me back to YA? The Hunger Games. I read the trilogy in the summer of 2011. I was working at a day camp in a program where I lived with my teammates, and one of them had read The Hunger Games during the beginning of the summer. She talked about them a little and I was intrigued. Then, Amazon happened to be running a sale on the first one for $1.99, and since I had just gotten a paycheck, I decided to buy.

And then I didn’t leave my room for the two days we had off over the weekend because I had to read ALL the books. From there came books like Divergent and The Maze Runner. I started incorporating YA into my reading diet, even though it was only a small part at this point. I also began reading less literary fiction and MORE non-fiction. Except for the books mentioned above, I don’t think I read ANY other fiction books in 2011, except those required for school.

When I started blogging is when I got really into YA. I’ve never called myself a YA book blog, because I have a lot of interests, and I’ll probably never define myself in that way. However, I DO read mostly YA at this moment because I feel I’m just now finding all these awesome books everyone else has been reading the past few years. Which might also be why I feel like I haven’t read ANY of the books everyone loves, even though that’s not true! I’ve been slowly making my way through some of the books that get recommended to me all the time, and a lot of times, I love them.

I’m sold on YA. There are things I’d like to change about it. There are things I just outright DISLIKE. But there are SO many reasons that I read YA today that I love it as a whole, which is how I end up here, reading so many YA books after being so vehemently against it in high school.



17 responses to “My Perspective on YA, part 1

  1. Leanne

    I shamefully used to think the same thing (and not only so long ago as high school). Thankfully a dear friend of mine managed to change my mind about YA, without actually trying to. I got ahold of her book blog and started reading posts even though it wasn’t my genre. Her excitement about the books got ME excited about the books, which led to me kinda wanting to give them a try. Then I would find a specific one here and there that sounded pretty awesome and I would get excited all on my own. I finally picked up Cinder and Daughter of Smoke and Bone as my first batch of YA to try… it was all downhill from there. I couldn’t believe the skill these writers had in their world creation, which beat out lots of the adult fiction I had been reading before. These authors were clearly talented, and possessing of a fantastic vocabulary, and able to fluently move through new worlds without me feeling lost or bogged down at all. I was so hooked after that. So I suppose I have Kelley (@ Another Novel Read), Marissa Meyer, and Laini Taylor to thank for my newfound YA love. 🙂

    I’m excited to see The Hunger Games and Harry Potter both mentioned in your post, as I picked up the first books for both of those yesterday. I can’t wait to read them and see what all the buzz is about!

    I can totally sympathize with feeling like you’re still missing all the good books as well. I’ve been trying to work the more talked about ones into my list but like you, I have SO MANY book interests, it’s hard to sit and read those back to back. I keep going in and out of genres to suit my mood. And then library books I want to read become available and I need to get those finished before my checkout time is up. And then I realize I’m missing the second book in a series I really liked the first of so I have to get that. It’s a neverending book hop it seems. But I will get to all those most-loved ones in the community eventually. 🙂

  2. Bookish Recap: June 23rd - 29th | A Bookish Heart

    […] Stormy @ Book.Blog.Bake shares her perspective on YA (part one). […]

  3. I totally get what you mean by being a literary snob and reading only lietrary classics and whatnot. I had a similar phase, but once I started reading YA, I was hooked. My first YA book was The Hunger Games, and it was everything I needed. A protagonist my age whom I can relate to, and a interesting story line. It was a breath of fresh air from the adult genre. Now I want to read more and more genres, not just YA.

    Great post! 😀

    • stormydawnc

      Yes to the Hunger Games for introducing us to YA! I remember being so intrigued & yet so creeped out while reading The Hunger Games. I love a lot of books in the adult section, but I find they tend to have a less optimistic outlook on life. YA really does feel like fresh air.

  4. Book Bloggery Week-in-Review (14) | Another Novel Read

    […] shared her perspective on YA, and what changed her mind about wanting to read […]

  5. Lisa

    Wow, that’s really interesting! I recently just graduated, but when school was still going, you could always catch me in class with a YA novel. I felt like I got a lot of weird looks and a couple of stares because of it. But I didn’t really care too much, I love YA, it makes me happy and I don’t know what else I would do (or read) if it wasn’t here!

    Become Blogger of the Week

    • stormydawnc

      I always felt strange reading YA in the English building at my college, especially after just reading & discussing the classes(which I also loved). Definitely got some looks. But hey, I can like YA AND the classics.

  6. Ah, The Sisterhood the Traveling Pants. That brings back fond memories for sure. 🙂 The Hunger Games! I can relate! I picked up the first book then after a sleepless night of reading, I had to run out and get the next two and finish those off as well! I’m a bit clueless sometimes when it comes to distinguishing what genre some titles are from, really. 🙁 The only genres I really pay attention to are my favourites and YA is just one of those that used to slide under my radar. I’d pick up a YA book if it seemed interesting but it wasn’t something I would actively seek out. That totally changed when I started blogging, as short as my time has been. I’ve discovered so many new YA authors and titles! Totally into Sarah Dessen now and I’ve found myself really rooting through the shelves to find a story by her. 😛

    Neat post, Stormy, it was interesting to read how your perspective and like for YA changed over time. 😀

    • stormydawnc

      I remember secretly wishing my friends and I had something similar to the Traveling Pants in late Jr. High/early high school. Ah, memories.

  7. I didn’t even know what YA was until my late 20s! When I WAS a young adult, I pretty much read whatever I wanted – mostly Stephen King (and hardly anything “serious”). I also spent a big chunk of my 20s reading nothing but nonfiction, especially memoirs. But my entrance into YA was similar to yours. In fact, it might have actually been The Hunger Games that got me addicted, too! It was definitely the first series that I read back-to-back, all within a few days.

    • stormydawnc

      I LOVE memoirs. As much as I love YA, I still love my non-fiction. Which is funny, since I remember declaring once when I was about 12 that I would NEVER read non-fiction because it was “boring”. Not true!

  8. That was so me too! I was all, “YA is for kids! I’m not a kid!” Well, to be fair, I feel like there really wasn’t a lot of YA when I actually WAS in high school and I only started looking for things to read after I graduated and was in college.
    I was still reading Harry Potter that whole time (but even that was a struggle to get me there because even in 7th grade, I thought they were kids books (what kind of snob WAS I?) until we read them and I of course fell in love) and then my friends FINALLY got me to read Twilight because I was just dying for something to read that other people recommended.
    Then my friend introduced me to The Hunger Games and I was like OMG THIS DYSTOPIAN THING IS AWESOME. I tried to look for more and more dystopian and for some reason it was all young adult and really no adult books were like that. So I tried Delirium. I tried Matched. And then I looked for anything and everything dystopian! Slowly but surely, I fell in love with YA and my blog totally transitioned from adult mystery to everything YA!
    I love hearing people’s stories of how they started reading YA (and sorry to have just BLABBED my whole story to you haha). Thanks so much for sharing!

    • stormydawnc

      Haha, your “blabbed” story was fun! I think I’m young enough where there was SOME YA when I was in high school, but not a WHOLE lot. Twilight came out during that time & I think that’s when I was really aware of it as a CATEGORY. Like, Harry Potter was a “kid’s book”, not YA(and while I would say the first two are children’s/MG books, there’s no way the latter books can be considered “kid’s” books), and then there were just “normal” books.

  9. And yet, I’m the opposite. I devoured YA in high school but as soon as I got into university, I was jokingly mocked at by my peers for dragging “younger” books to school with me. Slowly I got out of the genre altogether and started reading “serious” or adult books (no non-fiction, though; never been a fan really). I think the book that really got me back into YA would be The Fault in Our Stars, because I was reminded that not all YA is fluff.
    Either way, I’m glad we’re back on the same boat. 🙂

    • stormydawnc

      Interesting to see your progression! I found that a lot of my peers at college where closet YA fans, which is interesting. I like my serious “adult” books too, but there’s definitely a special place in my heart for YA.

  10. Asti (A Bookish Heart)

    No matter how you ended up here, I’m glad you made it! I do think it’s one of those things that people would love if only they give it a chance and work with the right books. Sure, there are some YA books that are complete fluff, but there are plenty that aren’t. Just gotta know where to look (and in the blogosphere, there’s tons of people always ready to point you in the right direction)!

  11. Growing p – I read only adult books too. I like YA now, but I’m very eclectic when it comes to my reading choises, as I get burned out if I read the same type of book for too long.

Leave a Comment!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.