Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Yes I Read YA...And?

I intended on writing something else today, but yesterday I saw these comments on author Zoë Marriotts blog, and I had to share my views.

Because the pictures are bit small here is what was said:

Anonymous said...

This isn't really a comment on your post (but it is awesome by the way, I hope that Big Secret Project can someday see the light of day) but I have a question that I'd like to ask; I thought I'd ask you because you're one of my favourite authors and you're really nice so I thought you would be able to answer without thinking I'm being stupid or something.
I've just started college; I'm 17 years old next month. I'm taking English Literature because it's my favourite subject, but I feel like a baby because I discovered yesterday that most people in my class read 'adult' books and I'm still in the YA section. Is it stupid that I feel like crawling into a hole and dying, to never pick up a YA book again? I feel like such a baby, should I stop reading YA and move on to 'older' fiction?
Sorry, I know you're not an Agony Aunt but I didn't know who else to ask.

Zoë Marriott said...

Anonymous: This is absolutely the right place to ask this question! Talking about books and reading and writing is what we do here. I'll do a Q&A post Monday next week and post my reply then, OK? But in the meantime, please don't feel that you want to crawl into a hole and die! Most of my best friends and the smartest people that I know (including fellow writers!) spend between 50-90% of their reading time on YA novels. Including me! YOU ARE NOT ALONE!

And then I responded with:

AmieSalmonYAWriter said...

Anonymous...I do understand what you mean. When I was in a training session for xmas temp at a book shop, people seemed to look down at me for being a fan of YA/even children books in general. I do however also read 'adult' books as well; I am a fan of literature no matter what the age label.
I do think there is a big judgment against YA books, but I don't understand why. I've read so many 'teen' books that are just as beautiful, well written and full of great drama/comedy. Sometimes even more so than a book aimed for the older reader.
Don't feel pressured to read something you won't enjoy it. Be true to your own personal interests.
YA is a great place to be at the moment. I mean look at Zoë’s writing, her (or yours if you read this Zoë) books are some of the most intelligent I have read.

Now I want to add on to what I said. I do think there is a stigma against YA books, especially if you are an older reader and fan.

What is wrong with reading what you love?

As I said above, the YA books I read are so imaginative; intelligent; funny; full of great characters; stellar writing and are just simply amazing.
I mean lets take everyone’s favourite; the Harry Potter books. They are children’s books that go on to become YA as the characters grow older and the stories become darker. They have one of the most diverse audiences around, and are universally loved. No one looks down on if you've read them and adore them.
Twilight Saga is another one with a range in ages, and yes I admit I have gone off them a bit now because of the hype around them, but people love the books because they have a great core story.
I hate that people don't think you're smart just because you enjoy reading something that's aimed at teenagers. Or think just because you have a large collection of Mills & Boon books that somehow means you can't read a hard hitting historical fiction.
I don't stare down at 30-year-old guys who read comic books, because they have great stories in them. And if I could draw something like that I'd be happy to have such a devoted audience.

YA is one of the most exciting markets to be a part of at the moment; it is full of some of the most talented writers around. They create these amazing wonderful worlds that are so gripping and feel so real.
They write books that interest teens, who are largely seen in the media as 'hooded yobs' who go around vandalising and drinking and having sex.

I'm not saying just read one genre, if you want to grow and learn not only as a writer but also as a person then read as much as you can. But please don't go dissing someone for their taste. If you respect mine then I shall respect yours.

I think I got my point across there. Any thoughts?


  1. I wonder what people think when they see me browsing in the YA section. Lol I read everything. I love stories, regardless of genre or intended age of audience.

  2. I'm at university and still carrying YA books into my English Lit lectures. You just have to adopt an I-don't-care attitude - like when you're overdressed for a party - and people will be less inclined to judge you.

  3. Some of the best and most touching books I've read in the past year have been YA books. No shame in reading this genre, no matter what your age. :)