Sunday, 22 January 2017

Why I don't read YA

The thought of writing this post has been drifting into and out of my head for a while, so I thought I would finally sit down and write it. I've been a reader since I was very small and have read a lot of different types of books during that time. However, I've never really delved into the world of Young Adult fiction, or YA, so I thought I'd write a post explaining why.


I stopped reading children's books exclusively when I was about 12 or 13, and apart from the odd series like 'A Series of Unfortunate Events' I more or less moved straight onto 'adult' books, with Jane Eyre being my first classic. I think I was just a little too old to catch the huge YA hype of the last few years, or at least I don't think I was aware of it being a genre at the time. Probably the only series I picked up in the knowledge of it being YA was Twilight, and while I really liked the first 3 books I remember skipping big sections of Breaking Dawn and didn't finish 'The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner' because I got bored. This certainly put me off reading any other vampire novels, and I can't remember reading a huge amount of YA after that.


I also had a bit of a John Green phase when I was 15, reading Looking for Alaska and The Fault in Our Stars. I did attempt Paper Towns too, but again I didn't finish because I couldn't really get into it. Looking back, I think the reason I didn't get on with YA like this was because I didn't like it's plot driven focus. My favourite books have always been those that are rich in description and really engaging to read even if nothing much was happening, like Jane Eyre or my favourite childhood book, Haroun and the Sea of Stories by Salman Rushdie. I found that in a lot of YA books (Not all of course, I loved Looking for Alaska and can't speak for the whole of the genre) there was a huge amount of focus on what was happening rather than how it was being described, which wasn't really my thing.


Since starting to watch Booktube a couple of years ago, I've realised what a huge amount of people, of all ages not just 'young adults' are reading YA, and so I thought I should give it a fair chance considering I kind of missed it the first time round. I have to say though, it hasn't really stuck.

The thing that puts me, and a lot of people off I think is the kind of 'fandom' hype around it. I see a lot of acronyms and couple names and fanfics and artwork and I have absolutely no idea what is going on. Of course, it's great that people are so absorbed in a particular fictional world that they are able to have that level of enthusiasm, but it kind of feels like a club that I wasn't invited to 😂. Maybe I wasn't reading the right books, or reading them in the right way, but I just didn't like it. I remember trying to re-read The Fault in Our Stars about a year after I first read it, and not finishing it because I wasn't emotionally invested in the story anymore, I found the characters a bit boring and in general I thought it was all a bit cliché.


I think this leads me onto the fact that a huge proportion of YA is trend driven. When I picked up twilight, I remember there being a whole bookshelf in Waterstones being dedicated to 'dark romance'- vampires, werewolves and the like. Now, no one really reads this sort of book and so the trend moved on to something new. There always seems to be a single book or series that starts it off, Twilight for Dark Romance, The Fault in Our Stars for the kind of doomed angsty teen relationship, The Hunger Games for the teen-saving-the-world dystopian books and most recently Game of Thrones for the not-quite-mythical-but-still-includes-dragons-magic-and-knights books. While each trend is ongoing little else seems to appear on BookTube and I think this gives the impression that little else is being written in the YA genre. Obviously this isn't true, but I find it a little overwhelming to have to wade through the tide of Games of Throneses to get to the books I'd actually be interested in.

I really wanted to enjoy YA, and become a part of the passionate book community that follows it, but for me I just don't think it'll work. Of course, I may be wrong so please recommend me your favourite YA books- I want to be proved wrong! Does anyone else feel like this for YA, or any other genres- let me know!

E x

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2 comments

  1. My favorite YA series at the moment is the Six of Crows series by Leigh Bardugo. Although when I read her other series, I had a hard time getting into it. I guess I really just fell in love with the characters and the plot of this book--it's really unique and Bardugo manages to paint a world that is so grotesque get so inviting. It's basically about a band of criminals who have to commit the ultimate crime, though I'm not sure if I would read it again. For me, YA are definitely a one time thing--especially since once I know the plot, the actual quality of the literature is lacking and there is no descriptions to read into, like you said. I also remember really liking the Infernal Devices by Cassandra Clare, but I probably wouldn't read it again for the same reason.
    xx Sav

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    1. I've heard of that series I think! I might try and get into a series over the summer when I have the time to be fully absorbed, but that sounds like a good place to start! <3
      Eleanor xxx

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