Reading YA and finding enjoyment in any genre…

There has been many a post on social media over the last week about young adult fiction and who is reading it. With the release of The Fault in Our Stars movie, teens and adults alike have been flocking to the cinemas to see it. Why? Because of the hype it has generated. Everywhere I go I see the familiar flash of blue (and possibly a tear or two) and I smile to myself.  It is so exciting to see a book making such an impact. People are reading… they are talking about books and encouraging others to do so. With all the criticisms that are circling around adults reading young adult novels, I find myself wondering why…. Why does it matter? Why should we care?

I have always read. My tastes have grown and matured over the years but I have always gravitated back to YA. I love the stories they tell. I love the honesty of the writing…  Teenagers are so transparent in their thinking. They are obnoxious and grandiose in their know-it-all-attitudes, they wear their hearts on their sleeves and their brains in their pants. So why is this so endearing? Perhaps it is something we can all relate too. As adults, we have all been through that time in our lives where we might have been the shy band-geek, the hot jock, the princess, the emo kid or the nerd with a book in her hand. There is something about YA that allows us to identify with our own childhood and the experiences that we have had. I love how a crush is not a crush but earth-shattering love, a friend is a friend and then a mortal enemy, and parents are the daggiest things around except when you need a lift in the early hours of the morning because you accidently got off the last train …. (true story!).

That’s not to mean that I don’t read  ‘adult ‘ books. I read a wide variety of genres and enjoy them all. I will happily sit down and read a timeless classic, a piece of award winning literature or a fluffy romance novel.  I plodded through The Luminaries, swore at Eyrie, raged at Twilight and fell in love with Harry Potter. At work I procrastinate by reading picture books and at night I snuggle under the covers with a contented sigh no matter what I am reading. Not everybody reads a wide variety of genres… some people don’t read at all! If the thing that gets them inspired is a teen book then the author has accomplished something great and their job is done.  There are times when I have been openly critical of certain books on the market but at the end of the day, if they get people reading then that is what’s important.  Reading is such a wonderful past time, that we should encourage everyone, no matter what his or her preferences are!

In a fabulous tweet by Jennifer Weiner, she said “Dear Y.A, Don’t let the bastards get you down! Your Friend, Chick Lit”. Now this really made me laugh because she has summed it up perfectly. There is good and bad in every genre and criticisms of all kinds. Romance and chick lit cop a lot – the so-called low point of literature. And yet literature itself and literary works have been called pretentious, snobby and segregating because they assume an air of intelligence and importance.… I have seen and heard it all. The YA genre is just the latest victim of genre bashing and it will pass soon enough when the next big thing arrives.


8 thoughts on “Reading YA and finding enjoyment in any genre…

  1. I also have a dream job, Library Technician in a secondary school. Part of my role is to read YA books and then be able to give advise to willing young people. The satisfaction I get out of kids really enjoying books I have recommended to them is immeasurable. One of my very favourite YA romance novels from a couple of years ago was The sky is everywhere by Jandy Nelson. We obtained the hardback copy first and the coloured pages really added to the story.


    • I actually applied for an Assistant Library Technician Job before I landed my current job. It was at a local high school and I though it sounded great! I understand the joy you feel in recommending books to others.. I used to love it in the bookstore and it my driving force behind creating thebookkat. I hope your kids realise how lucky they are!


  2. BookKat you’ve hit the nail right on the head with this blog. Its all about the reading, that’s it in a nutshell. No some people read e books and other like me prefer the tactile nature and experience of a book. To me the important thing is that people read and allow themselves to be transported to another place.

    The statement that you made that resonated with me totally was about the contentment you get when you snuggle under the covers with a good book. That is one of the reasons that winter is my favourite time of the year. Those late nights when the story grabs hold and you are lost in time toasty warm and you look up and the morning light is creeping in through the cracks in the drawn curtains. You finish the book and then snuggle down and doze with ABC classic FM on lightly in the background.

    Thanks again for sharing your thoughts with us again.


    • Thank you Patrick, I appreciate your kind words. It is wonderful to hear from kindred spirits that understand the enjoyment found in books and at the end of the day, that is what is important. It doesn’t matter if you read the newspaper, or a graphic novel/ comic book, or prefer reading on an iPad to a book, it is still the journey that we find ourselves on that counts. There have been so many times that I spent that day in a haze because I have read into the early hours of the morning. Sometimes it is just so hard to leave the world I am so wrapped up in. I wouldn’t have it any other way!


      • Yes I have a lot of negatives in my life and if it wasn’t for my books and my music helping me to escape them I doubt that Id still be around. Quite simply they are that important. I have a beautiful library with several thousand books as Ive been collecting since I was 5 years old so that’s 45 years and I have never ever gotten rid of a single book. Even those that I may not have truly liked or enjoyed are valuable because even from those I have learnt something about the world and myself. My oldest book is a text book of mathematics that was first published in 1896 and was a text book of my grand mothers that she used in university.


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