Embracing Your Inner Teen: Why You Shouldn't Be Ashamed to Read YA Novels
In the past, we’ve talked about why you shouldn’t be ashamed to read trashy romance novels, but we’ve realized that there’s more than one genre that can have a negative stigma attached to it. For example, young adult or YA novels. As an adult, it can be easy to feel uncomfortable when you’re asked what you’re reading, and the answer is a not-so-well-known YA novel. Typically, the responses you receive from others is something along the lines of “but isn’t that for kids?”
At Frostbeard we believe that the benefits of reading are innumerable. As long as you're reading, it doesn’t matter what genre of books you love the most. We DO hope you’re reading books that satisfy your curiosity and interests. Maybe you’re into YA novels - or maybe it’s manga, erotica, etc - whatever book you’re reading, we’re just glad that you’re enjoying it. No two people are the same; we wouldn't judge someone for not liking one food but loving another, so why is it that we are so quick to judge when it comes to book genres? We’ve found that people are more likely to become enthusiastic life-long readers when they get hooked on a good book and have the chance to figure out their own favorites.
It can be frustrating when you’ve been in love with a YA novel for years, but none of your friends will read it until it gets made into a movie. The biggest hurdle when trying to sway others to give YA novels a try is convincing them that this genre of novels can be well-written with complex plots and characters. YA novels have so much more to offer than just young kids either falling in love or preventing the apocalypse. Or falling in love while preventing the apocalypse. That is by no means to say that we don’t like dystopian YA novels, we love dystopian YA novels! And so does Hollywood, that’s why we see so many dystopian YA novels get turned into films, but that does not mean that there aren’t more genres of YA novels out there.
You thought YA novels were their own genre? Think again. Here are just a few of the genres that exist within the YA realm.
- Alternate History
- Historical Fiction
- Paranormal Romance
- Southern Gothic
All in all, most lovers of YA novels don’t refer to “Young Adult” as a genre. "Young Adult" functions as the recommendation by the author or publisher as to whom might enjoy these books the most due to the age of the characters who feature in the stories. Books can be hard to categorize. And this is another reason why you shouldn’t be ashamed by reading a YA novel. The “YA novel” label is a suggestion, just like... the suggestion on a bag of pizza rolls that says you should only heat up six at a time. Are you going to listen to the package? No - you're going to heat up as many pizza rolls as you can fit on a plate, because you love pizza rolls. Don’t let the title fool you; YA novels can be enjoyed by anyone of any age.
We once saw Neil Gaiman give a talk after the release of his YA-ish novel, Coraline (one of our all-time favorites). His goal was to write a book for both kids and grown-ups, since he still loved reading kids fiction. It’s a fantastic spooky story that publishers originally thought was too scary for younger readers. At the event, he had a lot of great insights into how children and adults (and young adults) all read stories differently. Younger readers saw the book as an exciting adventure story with a hero their age... but most of the parents were terrified to read about a child in danger. The reactions were completely different depending on the reader’s point of view!
Other than being great works of literature on their own, YA novels can also be great “filler books” or “break books.” A good YA novel makes for a perfect read after you’ve finished a novel that really impacted you or covered difficult topics. These books can work as your breath of fresh air while on vacation, at the end of a long day, or during your lunch break. Find a series that you can read that doesn’t require as much brainpower or emotional involvement to get into and simply enjoy the act of reading.
Ready to make the jump to be unashamed of your next YA novel? Here are some suggestions for series or stand alone YA novels that you might want to try.
• Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas
• A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
• Uglies by Scott Westerfeld
• Abhorsen by Garth Nix
• Maximum Ride by James Patterson
• The Giver by Lois Lowry
• The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
• Looking For Alaska by John Green
• Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein (There is a loose prequel and sequel, we’re still calling it a stand alone title. Tell us if you agree below)
Classic Young Adult Books
• A Wrinkle in Times by Madeleine L'Engle
• Lord of the Flies by William Golding
• Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones
• The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin
• Bud, Not Buddy by Christopher Paul Curtis
Share the Young Adult Novel Love at Frostbeard
So the next time you’re in your local library or bookstore, we urge you to walk into the YA section with your head held high. When asking for help finding a topic try not to say that "you’re looking for a friend, child, or niece." Instead, strike up a conversation with the person who is helping you look about their favorite YA novels, you’ll probably be surprised to find that there are more adult YA fans out there than you thought.
What are your favorite YA novels? Do you have a favorite genre or author that you swear by? Share your favorite with us below and share the YA novel love. If you want to take your love of YA novels to the next level, check out our wizardy themed candles that match one of our favorite YA series. Until next time, happy reading!