Let’s Talk Bookish: What makes you continue picking up YA/middle grade?

Let’s Talk Bookish is a weekly meme hosted by Rukky @ Eternity Books and Dani @ Literary Lion. Today’s topic is What makes you continue picking up YA/middle grade? Or why don’t you?

As adults some of us leave YA/Middle Grade behind and some of us continue to revel in it…but what separates us as readers? If you still pick up YA/Middle Grade, what draws you to them instead of Adult Fiction? If you’ve “grown out” of those genres, why do they no longer spark joy in you? If you’re a teen, do you think you’ll still read YA/Middle Grade when you’re in your 20s/30s?

YA novels are roughly meant for the 12-17 age group – something I don’t agree with, but we’ll get to that later. I always tended to read ahead of my age group as a kid, which meant I discovered YA around the same time as middle grade so I was more or less reading Ella Enchanted and the Narnia series side by side with books like Anne of Green Gables and The Luxe.

When it comes to middle grade novels, I don’t really read them anymore, because I feel I’ve well and truly outgrown the genre. The protagonists are too young and frustratingly immature for me to relate to, the stakes are rarely high or exciting enough and it is, in my opinion, a genre that is limited to the age group it is written for. I can literally count on one hand the number of middle grade novels I read each year and they are all either rereads of childhood favourites, or from an author whose work I really enjoy. I am currently keeping up with only one middle grade series, Roshani Chokshi’s Pandava Quintet and that is largely because I can’t resist a good mythology retelling, regardless of the age group it is meant for.

YA novels are a whole other story though. They delve into such interesting themes and conflicts and the writing tends to be really good for the most part. They are also much faster and easier to read. I’m not the type to shy away from a book merely because it’s long, but reading so many of those back to back can get quite exhausting! YA novels are more and more frequently treading into territory that would be more appropriate for late teens or the ambiguous ‘new adult’ categorization, which increases its appeal well beyond its target age groups. Coming of age stories for example are something that most if not all readers can relate to to some extent. In some cases, I’m really invested in a particular series or books by an author, so those are automatic additions to my TBR pretty much regardless of what age group they are meant for.

But I think the main reason why I still read YA is that the genre continues to surprise me with something new and innovative, year after year. I’ve heard more times than I can count how I should move on from YA titles and start reading some real literature, but the bottom line is that though there are adult novels I enjoy across genres, and I do try to expand my reading with them, as long as I enjoy YA, it will continue to feature regularly on my TBR for quite a few years yet, if not permanently.

Why do/don’t you read YA or middle grade novels? Share your thoughts in the comments below!


12 thoughts on “Let’s Talk Bookish: What makes you continue picking up YA/middle grade?

  1. I'm All Booked Up YA May 7, 2021 / 1:38 pm

    We hate the stigma around reading YA. We read YA because it’s what we like and reading should be for enjoyment. Plus, you’re right, YA is getting older and we love it.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Allan Joseph May 7, 2021 / 2:38 pm

    Honestly, I can still see myself reading YA Novels even in my mid/late 20s, just because they are like a comfort blanket for me (maybe not the right analogy!). Also, YA Novels are always like a breath of fresh air for me, something so special about those books.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Shannon May 7, 2021 / 7:04 pm

    I started reading YA books again in my late 30s. There’s something so genuine about the themes and feelings that I think it transcends age barriers. Most people remember what it’s like to be a teenager – reliving those thoughts/feelings/experiences as an older reader with life experience under your belt is kind of cathartic, almost like a do over.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Marta the Monogamist Reader May 8, 2021 / 3:07 am

    I don’t like the stigma about adults breading YA as well. I am always a believer we should read whatever we feel like reading. There are so many reasons why I read YA even if I am not the target audience anymore and honestly I never get tired of it. Great post dear!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Raji (@journeyintofantasy) May 9, 2021 / 7:31 pm

      Thanks! I agree, reading should be for enjoyment and it’s not necessary that a reader should be in the target age range for a book to like it.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Jodie | That Happy Reader May 8, 2021 / 8:58 am

    Being middle aged, I no longer feel I can relate to YA books (I’m not even sure there was a YA genre when I was in my teens/early 20’s). I definitely understand the draw to these books, however.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Catherine May 27, 2021 / 1:55 pm

    Honestly I think that Middle Grade has the appropriate age range ascribed, but YA and NA are both a little bit off. YA really leans more towards “stories about teenagers ages 16-19, meant for an audience of ages 14-18” and even then, the older the characters are and the more mature the themes the more likely a book may be YA but definitely appeal to a much broader age range in terms of audience. NA is also such a narrow definition in a world where more and more the goalposts for “adulthood” are being moved, and people in their late thirties can still relate to the struggles of a twenty-one year old protagonist who’s floundering in adulthood.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Raji (@journeyintofantasy) May 29, 2021 / 5:55 pm

      Well said! For any book classified as YA or NA, I try to use the reviews as a way to figure out exactly how accurate that classification is. Thanks for reading!

      Liked by 1 person

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