Sorry, but “you read too much YA” isn’t an insult

thoughts orangutan

Sooo you know how I’ve come out swinging lately about how not everything is YA? Well, I’m here today to tell you that it doesn’t matter anyway! Because, as much as I like being precise about what is and isn’t YA, I don’t really think it matters in the grand scheme of things. I love YA, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with reading entirely YA and it most certainly isn’t an insult to say “you read too much YA” (which incidentally is what prompted me to do these posts, so thank you kind stranger for the content!) Aside from making me wonder “how much is too much” and “what even is YA”, I also just don’t think it’s a very valid criticism- and here’s why:

meanBook snobbery ain’t cool– okay, so maybe YA just isn’t for you, maybe you don’t fit into the target demographic and maybe you don’t want to read it- but guess what? No one’s asking you to! At this point, I’m gonna come out and say it: it comes across as incredibly judgemental to tell other people off for their reading tastes. I just think WHOA to the unnecessary shaming, that this is telling of some deep feelings of inadequacy and maybe (just maybe) you’ve got a stick up your butt 😉

yayYA ROCKS! I could wax lyrical about how awesome YA is- in fact, I’ve done it before and I’m gonna do it again! YA is innovative, modern and imaginative! It’s pacey, exciting and entertaining! It’s full of youthful optimism and gives us the *feels*. If you’re looking for heightened emotions and the promise of some intense catharsis, you can’t really go wrong with YA.

that's deepIt’s also much deeper than you think– let’s be real, if you denigrate all of YA, your ignorance is showing. Children’s literature has always been an experimental gateway- from the Hobbit to Phantom Tollbooth to Alice in Wonderland to A Wrinkle in Time, we’ve understood that children’s stories can be just as important as adult novels. Likewise, YA has cracked fields of fantasy, dystopia and sci fi wide open. Books like Illuminae show us that stories can be told in an alternative format. Books like Northern Lights explore philosophy and theology. Books like Hunger Games help us explore the issues of our time. Books like One Word Kill explore maths and theoretical physics for goodness sakes! To say that it is shallow is simply daft (and, I know I said critics don’t have to read YA, but maybe if you read some, you might actually learn something 😉)

choose booksNot everything is YA– sorry to harp on, but as I discussed recently there’s a lot of misconceptions about what is and isn’t YA. Given that it’s such a broad and all-encompassing category, how could you feasibly say it’s all bad? Which brings me onto…

spaceYA is limitless– it’s not actually a genre, it’s a marketing category. That means it’s not constrained to one type of book. YA is open to readers of all ages, all interests and all personalities. And that’s why I find it so strangely amusing that people will turn their noses up at it. YA doesn’t limit itself- so why should you?

So, what do you think? Would you be insulted if someone said you read too much YA? Do you like reading YA? Let me know in the comments!

68 thoughts on “Sorry, but “you read too much YA” isn’t an insult

  1. I read quite a bit of YA, as I am a teen librarian and review them for the School Library Journal. I also get judged for my love of graphic novels, but if people are going to be snobby about two of the many genres I read, then they are the ones with a problem, not me.

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  2. Amazing post!
    I find it kinda hilarious how people wanna turn EVERYTHING into insults nowadays for the sake of just being mean… then again, this sort of reminds me of the insult « running like a girl » and etc.. what’s wrong with that?! Absolutely nothing.

    I honestly have no idea what I read 😂 the concept of something being YA or not is something I still can’t grasp nor really look for in a book..

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  3. Love this topic! YA has been my niche genre for years, and I’ve finally grown to realize that I don’t need to categorize what I’m reading, or what section of the library/book store something came from. I’m going to read what I want, and what I like, from whatever section is accessible to me. Spoiler alert: that’s every section because our reading opportunities are endless!

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  4. This one time at the library, I asked a volunteer where a book in the non fiction section was, and he happily showed me. Moments later, I asked where the YA was, and he looked so puzzled! Books don’t have an age limit – if you like it, read it 🙌🏻

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  5. When my kids were young, I read middle grade, then young adult, and then I read the books they liked – I let them lead. Now I love board books, the ones intended for the littlest “readers-not readers.” Take a look at “A Unicorn Named Sparkle” by Amy Young, or “Snow” by Uri Shulevitz, or “Little Blue Truck” by Alice Schertle, or “Pout-Pout Fish” by Deborah Diesen, “Otis” by Loren Long. These are the books I give at baby showers. Great stories, great art, comfort food.

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  6. I don’t bother too much about what age label a book got, when the blurb and the critics are getting me curious. I’m at a stage in my life that places me out of the so called target group of YA publications, but this doesn’t mean I can’t relate to them anymore. I’ve been a YA, and I still remember how it was. Imagine that you’ve missed out of reading Alice in Wonderland as a child: would that stop you of reading it NOW because it is a children’s book? Or rereading it after you’ve read some interesting criticism about it, to check out the metaphors your child’s perception didn’t catch on with?

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  7. True! Of late, I’ve been reading Historical Fiction, but YA was were I started out initially, so I will eventually get back to it once I feel the beginning of a reading slump. There’s nothing a good fast-paced YA book like ‘The Hunger Games’ cannot cure. Sometimes however, I get irritated by the abundance of overused tropes in YA books, but that’s just the same with many other categories.

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  8. “You read too much YA” is definitely not valid criticism. In a world where people arguably don’t read enough, judging people for what they like to read is the height of book snobbery, I agree! People, read what you like! And I agree, YA is awesome 🙂

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  9. I really like this post!
    After reading a lot of similar YA when I was a YA myself, I got really super-saturated on it. A lot of that was due to always going by the “Similar to what I just read”. I’d been avoiding YA for a good 5-6 years since then and only recently started giving it a try again. And some of it does have the things I’m tired of. But lots of is innovative and gripping and different from what I was expecting.

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  10. Oh no, if anything, I’d be embarrassed for someone who thought that “you read too much YA” would actually be a good insult 😅. Like you said, book snobbery isn’t cool, and it basically backfires by making someone look like /they’re/ the uninformed one 😂.
    I love all these discussions about YA lately 🙂!

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  11. I’ll admit, I get annoyed at people for saying YA is a genre. I mean sure, “YA Fantasy” is a genre. But the YA part itself is just an indicator of who the intended audience was! Grr. Sorry. Soapbox. 😉 I agree, though, there’s so much to YA that it really does feel limitless most of the time.

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  12. I was like yesss as soon as I read the title!! You talked about so many brilliant points and I love this post! YA is one of my favourite things to read and it still shocks me how many book snobs there are. Brilliant post! ❤️

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  13. Thank you! It used to really frustrate me when lecturers wouldn’t let us write on YA texts because they weren’t ‘literary enough’ 🤦‍♀️

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  14. I started reading YA again to connect to my daughter, when she was younger. Now, I still read it, and love every second of it. I often get nostalgic as I read, but I also like to keep up with what’s important to teens now. They are our future, and I think it’s important to sort of understand their world, which will shape them

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  15. Someone said that to you? How rude! I read it all, ya, ya fantasy, romance (the dirtier the better!) but I would never say something like that to someone…and I dont even know what I’d say to someone if they said to me. It would probably include some sweats though!

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  16. Thank you for this! For some reason, I always feel a little embarrassed in book groups or book club when I mention that my category of choice is YA. But I shouldn’t because, yes, YA is awesome! It’s much more complex and thought-provoking than people give it credit for, and it’s rich with possibility. Love this post! ❤

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  17. You’re as young as the book you feel like reading. Some of the books I’ve loved the most, and re-read the most, probably come under this category – A Wizard of Earthsea, The Iron Man, The Snow Spider, Sandman. My world would be far less magical without them.


  18. Nope – I’d consider it a compliment. 😉 Some of the best books I’ve ever read are YA and I’ve read quite a few of the others too. 😄 Judgemental people only have one real problem in my opinion – and that is themselves. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  19. I am always surprised whenever someone is judging a reader for reading any genre, YA being one of them. It’s just a genre created to categorize and you can choose not to read it but man, some people think it’s okay to judge those who do read YA. It’s weird, where do they get the time?

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  20. YES to all of this!! I completely agree – book shaming people for reading YA is just so pointlessly mean and judgmental, and makes the shamer look like a jerk rather than accomplishing anything else. And yes, YA is amazing 😀 I love that there is so much variety within the category, since you’re right – it’s not a genre. It’s limitless! There is too much incredible YA out there to be shamed out of reading it.

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