This week’s discussion is very much inspired by a few twitter friends I have, because 1. One of them (Erika) very specifically gave me this topic to write about and 2. Before that we had talked about something similar before as a group. I hope these people know who they are if they’re reading this because THANK YOU GUYS ❤ (and also there’s way too many of you to go through and link, I apologise. I hope this will do for now.)
Anyway, I just thought they deserved some recognition first of all, since it wasn’t my idea.
AND NOW. THE TOPIC.
The age old argument (no pun intended) of how old YA readers should be. Especially when it comes to *certain* topics.
Here we go!
Let’s talk about the age of YA readers!
My answer? EVERYONE.
I don’t care that they’re targeted at teenagers. Although I do, technically, belong to that group.
I see people aged between 15-25 read YA most often. Which I would definitely class as “young adult”. But…I in no way believe you have to be within that age rage to read YA books.
Who should read YA books? Anyone who wants to read YA books. That’s who.
Ahhh yes. There’s certain topics that can be a bit touchy in the YA section. I’m talking sexual content. Or mental health subjects that may be triggering/influencing. Or maybe even violence and death.
When it comes to these things, people can become a bit hesitant to let younger readers pick up YA books, despite them being specifically targeted towards them most of the time. And yes, I can see why in some cases. I mean A Court of Mist and Fury is in the YA section but I’m sure we all know by now that there’s a fair few racy scenes in that book. When it comes to mental health, or maybe just health in general, maybe some parents don’t want their children reading about that sort of thing. Maybe they’ve gone through something similar and fear it may be triggering. And violence…well, it’s not exactly nice, is it?
But I don’t think the problem is in the topics. It’s in the detail.
Because if something is written in incredible detail…well, it’s going to hit the reader a bit harder, isn’t it? It can’t be skipped over and forgotten quite so easily.
I still don’t think that’s where the decision lies though.
It depends on the reader.
The reader will know what they can handle. They’ll know what they want to read about. They’ll know if something may be triggering to them. They’ll know if sexual content will make them uncomfortable. They’ll know if they want to stay away from violent scenes.
So, I think that as long as books have a content warning on the back for sexual content/mental health/strong language etc etc…YA books can still be read by anyone as long as that’s what they WANT to read.
If a reader has a good idea of what they’re getting themselves into, and they happily choose that book, then that book is for them. No matter their age.
My answer is still “everyone”.
I think there’s so much to learn from YA – not just the enlightening contemporaries, but the badass fantasies too – and no one should be restricted from that because someone believes it’s the wrong age for them.
And it’s entertaining! That’s what books are here for, to entertain us, so read whichever books you want!
YA books are literally only classed as YA because the main character is a young adult. It’s not about the content, or the writing, or the topics.
So if you want to read YA, read it. It doesn’t matter if you’re 12 years old and wanting to tiptoe into the genre and see what it’s all about. It doesn’t matter if you’re 50 years old and have been reading it for years. Or even the opposite way round – 12 and have read it for years / 50 and want to see what’s going on.
You do you. If you want to avoid certain topics, then sure – avoid them. But that doesn’t cancel out the entire YA genre, only a fraction of it. So read all the YA, no matter what age you are, if that’s what you want to read. There’s nothing stopping you 😀
Now it’s your turn!
What age range do you think YA books are targeted at?
Who do you think should read them?
Would you change your mind slightly if it came to topics such as sexual content/mental health etc?
Do these topics affect the age range of the readers?
Maybe you think there should be a warning?
Join the discussion in the comments!
Until next time…
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