Why You’re Not Too Old to Read YA

Some people think they are too old to read YA but they are missing out on some great reading!

My Misconceptions

If you’re like me you’ve watched the rise of YA fiction with some perplexity. I initially dismissed these books as not for me. Why produce books just for teens and why would an adult read them? But it turns out that “YA” describes the protagonists of the books more than the readers. In fact, the majority of YA readers are not actually teens.

The Truth

After initially ignoring the trend I decided to check out some of the books and see what the buzz was all about. I had the notion that YA would consist of bubblegum fairy tales and sweet relationships. I found that there are many great books that are both dark and seriously well-written. As with any genre there are also trite retellings of the same old but overall I the quality is pretty high and the books often tackle serious subjects.

YA + Dystopia = Entertainment

Many YA books can also be classified as dystopian which is the opposite of what I’d expected to find. I figured books written for young people would be all about happy endings. However books about young people lend themselves well to dystopian themes because of the harsh coming of age realizations that often accompany growing up.

Anyone who has reached adulthood has gone through the transition from child to adult so older readers can generally identify with the main characters quite easily. There is something empowering and freeing about participating in life story near the beginning before decisions narrow possibilities.

Recommended Reading

RDSP’s recent release SNOWED is a chance to start near the beginning and face obstacles with every day courage alongside Charity Jones. She’s finding her social footing and facing the challenge of bullies and finding friends that accept her. The novel covers these topics alongside first love in a refreshingly realistic and down-to-earth way. There are also some pretty terrifying speculative elements and pulse-pounding moments.

If this has piqued your reading interest here are a few YA books and series that I recommend which are highly entertaining and have plenty of dark thrills:

  • The Screaming Staircase (Lockwood & Co., #1) by Jonathan Stroud
    What’s not to like about teens who face down ghosts with silver rapiers?
  • The Raven Boys (The Raven Cycle, #1) by Maggie Stiefvater
    Magical lands in the dreamy backwoods of Virginia, boys who aren’t what they seem, a quest and a house full of psychics are just the beginning for this imaginative series.
  • The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
    Irreverence and humor drive points about poverty home in the way facts never can, a great story of triumph that anyone can respect but doesn’t gloss over serious and very tragic issues.
  • Daughter of Smoke & Bone (Daughter of Smoke & Bone, #1) by Laini Taylor
    Compelling and mysterious, this series brings monsters and angels to life in a visceral, unique way that avoids predictability.
  • The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
    an instant classic, top-notch historical fiction with a love of books and the written word at its core.
  • The Hunger Games (The Hunger Games, #1) by Suzanne Collins
    The one might seem obvious but if you have passed it over consider giving it a chance.


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