YA Hitting the Highway?

Well as this blog is called “bibliophile lifestyle”, I thought that maybe at some point I could post about, you know, books.

I was looking through BookTube videos on YouTube earlier today and came across a few that expressed something that has been on my mind a lot this year.  Young Adult books, namely my lack of interest in this genre.  For a few years I was all about the YA – nearly everything that I read was YA. I was hooked into so many series and I was reading voraciously.  It was fantastic.  But then.. well.. okay let me backtrack a bit and start at the beginning.

When I was the target age for YA books – there was no YA section. Seriously.  I had the Fear Street and Christopher Pike books that I loved as I was a huge fan of horror novels, but even at that age I was reading Dean Koontz and Stephen King.  Back around 2007 or so when I started cataloging each book that I read it was a lot of adult contemporary.  Slowly YA became a “thing” and then it was a “Big Thing”.  I think Harry Potter really started this off for me.  I will NEVER turn my back on that series or anything that comes from it.  It is a beautifully written series that I adore.

When Potter ended and I closed book seven (for the first time… because let’s be honest it’s been reread a few times since then) I looked for something to fill that void.  I heard about Twilight and figured… “Why not?”  I was hopeful it would cure my Post Potter Depression.  Instead it bothered me – a lot.  I read each book, saw the first movie or two.  But it was just terrible.  Not only was the writing subpar to me, the plot was awful (sparkly vampires…what the fuck?!)… and most of all the abusive relationship between Edward and Bella.  I’ll rant on that another time, but suffice it to say that I do NOT agree with what goes on in that book and shame on the author for glorifying an abusive relationship to young girls, tweens, and teens and passing it off as romantic.

After that I went back and forth between adult contemporary and some YA.  Then a few years ago, three or four years I suppose, it was all about the YA.  I fell in love with Cassandra Clare’s The Mortal Instruments series.  I was in awe of Lauren DeStefano’s Chemical Garden Trilogy.  The Hunger Games and Divergent were a big thing.  These were some of my big time YA loves, and remain some of my favorite series.  That won’t change.

However, the more YA I read the more it felt the same.  A lot of it was dystopian future.  Love triangles.  Insta love.  Over and over..and over.  Sure, there were some unique books thrown in the mix, but I felt like so many were just a retelling of the ones that came before.  I was getting bored.  Then last year I was getting hyped about three books that were coming out (or recently out that I was waiting on getting from the library).  Of those three I didn’t finish one, forced myself to finish the second, and finished the third but figured out the HUGE twist less than halfway in.  It was kind of heart breaking.  It started a major reading slump.  For me, whose first stop at the library or bookstore was the YA section I was losing hope.

I began to read more adult contemporary and some new adult (NONE of that 50 Shades bullshit for me, thanks).  I began to pick up some of the classics I own that I hadn’t gotten around to reading yet.  I looked for other BookTubers to add to my subscriptions that didn’t focus solely on YA.  I was finding more authors and titles I hadn’t thought to pick up before.  Things that made me think and inspired me in a way that YA was no longer doing.

Once I started my graduate school program this March, time has been slim for fun reading. Because of this I was inspired to do a pretty massive unhaul of a lot of YA books and series that I knew I wouldn’t finish.  I still have a TBR miles long – but it’s more of a mix of books and not just one genre.  I am, by no means, saying I will never pick up another YA book again.  Cassandra Clare’s new series will be out soon.  Lauren DeStefano has is still working on the Internment Chronicles.  There are a few on my shelves that I am still really interested in reading as well (Paper Towns, The Daughter of Smoke and Bone).  But, I think that the part of me that enjoyed YA so much as grown.  It’s grown because the YA I read solely  helped me to see things differently and think differently.

All of that said – no one should ever be ashamed for what they are reading.  While I have strong opinions about things like Twilight and 50 Shades, I don’t condemn anyone for reading it, but I will share my thoughts on it if the person is open to hearing them.  So long as a person is reading, I call it a win.

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