Why reading YA novels is for everyone
When the summer before college ended with a flurry of falling leaves, I knew it was time to retire my copies of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire and The Fault in Our Stars, which had faithfully sat on my nightstand for 3 months, to the bookshelf in my closet. I prepped myself up for “real” books, like college textbooks about US politics and adult literature like To The Lighthouse. I felt as though this new phase in my life necessitated a new genre of books to go with it; I felt as though I’d outgrown YA fiction.
Well, To The Lighthouse was depressing (but beautiful) and the textbooks were drab (but informational), and despite having told myself to spend the summer after college reading the classics, my nightstand is once again occupied by books from the series “The Immortal Secrets of Nicholas Flamel” and other awesome YA fiction novels. My original attitude towards YA fiction has undergone huge reform, and I’m proud to say that young adult fiction is for everyone. Yes, sometimes the vocabulary is not as sophisticated as you might hope, and sometimes the storylines are stereotypical, but YA fiction has more to offer than meets the eye.
YA books renew your love of reading
I won’t lie—I basically swore off reading after a semester of being buried underneath textbooks and highlighters. I figured too much reading would burn me out and that if I spent that much time reading during the summer, I would lose all the motivation and drive to do it during the school year. YA fiction proved me wrong. Contrary to how I felt about reading during the school year, I didn’t want to put my book down and often found myself choosing my novel over frequenting social media. I didn’t feel burned out at all; rather, I felt enlightened and refreshed. I loved reading all over again.
They’re actually so interesting
I would love to tell you that the readings from my biology class were incredibly captivating and filled me with wonder, but that simply wouldn’t be the truth. Textbooks, biographies, and nonfiction in general can all be awe-inspiring and the perfect portrayal of raw emotion, but they are often also quite boring. The last thing you need for pleasure reading is a book that can put you to sleep. YA fiction does the opposite. The fantastical storyline set in a different world and the compelling characters (usually teenagers discovering themselves) are more than enough to reel you in and keep you there, until 2 or 3 in the morning.
They teach valuable lessons
People often dismiss young adult fiction under the premise that it is a shallow genre of literature that rarely speaks to the reality of life. To this, I say John Green. Paper Towns, one of his novels, highlights the consequences of romanticizing people in our lives, while The Fault In Our Stars gives a voice to those suffering from one of the deadliest diseases today. Green is one of many authors who writes YA fiction surrounding meaningful themes that relate to the complicated nature of life.
They provide incomparable stress relief
Have you ever just wanted to get away from it all? Normally this plays out on a beach in a faraway land as the result of a shockingly expensive vacation. Say goodbye to those days and let YA fiction take you away instead! Oftentimes, the settings of young adult fiction are so far removed from our mundane and ordinary lives that they serve as the perfect escape. Whether it’s a classic like Narnia or a more contemporary magical kingdom, letting the setting of your YA fiction novel consume you is an easy and accessible way to let go of any stress you might be experiencing in your work or personal life.
They don’t take much time
One of the best things about YA fiction novels is their length. The next time you sit down with a Russian novel that’s the physical width of your fist, think again. Wouldn’t you prefer a 250-pager that you can finish by the night? Yes, that’s what we thought. For me, one of the hardest parts about sitting down to read was that I could never clear my mind of thoughts about what I should be doing instead; did I reply to all my emails? When is that assignment due? Should I be looking into internships instead? With YA fiction, though, giving myself a half hour of free time was easy. It was the perfect way to relieve stress fast, and efficiency is something everyone wants to maximize nowadays.
Any writer will tell you that one of the best ways to improve your writing is to read more, and boy is that true. Witnessing the creation of a world and the development of characters in a book is the perfect motivation for someone to do the same on their own. Additionally, what one person has created often serves as the perfect starting point for another person. JK Rowling based many elements of Harry Potter on Greek mythology (I’ve heard that Fluffy, the three-headed dog, also responds to the name “Cerberus”); EL James drew inspiration for 50 Shades of Grey from Bella of Twilight (does Christian Grey sparkle sometimes?). You never know; maybe the side character of the next YA fiction novel you read will become the complex protagonist of your future best-seller.
Hopefully this list of reasons why YA fiction is for everyone has made you want to trek to your favorite book store and buy a stack of comparatively thin novels in the young adult section. Here’s to never outgrowing YA fiction.
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