I’m out of my teens, but I still like to read the books that are marked as YA. There’s a minor stigma attached to doing so in today’s society, and I really don’t think that that should be the case for anyone. One of the main reasons why I still read YA books is the simple fact that a lot of these stories are simply good stories. I don’t really care that much if something is a YA book if it is a good book with good characters and good themes.
A lot of the best YA fiction that I ever read was written well after my teenage years. In other cases, I just hadn’t heard of the stories back then. It’s easier to learn about older books these days in the Web 2.0 years. When I was still a teen, you were pretty much at the mercy of what your local bookstore had to offer. Online shopping just wasn’t as big back then. Feeling like these books are completely off-limits to me now feels like an act of deprivation, and that’s just not the way in which I want to live.
Honestly, some of the books aimed at adults are pretty simplistic in terms of their prose style, characters, and themes. They just get marketed towards adults because the subject matter is going to be too inappropriate for teenage readers. We all know that ‘adult’ tends to be used as a synonym for ‘lewd content’ as opposed to a synonym for ‘sophisticated.’ Finding less lewd material in books is honestly a good thing by my standards, so that’s just another point in YA’s favor.
It is true that plenty of popular YA books really are very bad in terms of the values that they portray, the literary quality, and the quality of the characterization. However, that just means that it’s really important to find the good stuff when you’re actually on the lookout for new YA novels. It’s pretty easy to do that nowadays, especially since many people will write blog posts on this topic almost exclusively nowadays. You can look at the Amazon reviews as well, and you can read the previews that Amazon has on hand. Finding the good stuff was harder even ten years ago, so it feels like people today have no excuse. You should be able to find the YA books that rise above the crowd, unless you’ve decided in advance that they just don’t exist.