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With the winner of the YA Book Prize due to be announced at the end of May, I thought it would be a good time to bring back this topical debate post. Can we grow out of YA books … even award-winning ones?
As a teenager reading was perhaps an even bigger part of my life than it is now. Without the inconvenient responsibility of study, jobs and exams, I devoured books like they were going out of fashion, and was practically an expected presence in the YA section of the local library.
As a teenager, I devoured YA books like they were going out of fashion.
However, as I progress into my twenties, I feel myself turning away from the books that inspired me in those years. I am somehow self-conscious about being seen reading YA books on the bus, I skip past YA reviews, and I avoid recommending them at my book club for fear of not being taken seriously.
This has got me thinking about today’s debate topic – are you really ever too old for YA?
The Issues: Pros and Cons of Reading YA Books into Adulthood
Below are some of the YA books that have inspired and influenced me most:
The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins
The novel is set in a dystopian world where twelve poor districts are ruled over by the rich and extravagant Capitol. As a punishment for past rebellion, every year each district must provide one boy and one girl as tributes to take part in a sickening televised event: The Hunger Games.
Suzanne Collins’ protagonist Katniss taught me, as an insecure adolescent girl, that there are far more important things than having a boyfriend. The bringing down of oppressive and cruel dictatorships, for example.
Noughts and Crosses Trilogy by Malorie Blackman
Noughts and Crosses is a love story crossing racial divides in a society where light-skinned Noughts are oppressed and segregated from the darker-skinned Crosses.
This series is incredibly moving and brought me an awareness of inequality, as well as being a poignant portrayal of both the flaws and the triumphs of humanity.
Boys Don’t Cry by Malorie Blackman
Anticipating excellent A-Level grades, followed by a prestigious University place and a successful career in journalism, Dante’s life seems to be turning out exactly as he hoped. Until his ex-girlfriend turns up on his doorstep with a baby….
Boys Don’t Cry is about the importance of taking responsibility, but it also has an inspiring message about taking life as it comes. This comes as a powerful lesson to someone with a tendency to have the next decade of my life rigidly planned!
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
The Fault in Our Stars is about the developing love between Hazel and Augustus, two teenage cancer patients.
Whatever our age, I think a great number of us worry about our significance and legacy in the world. Who will remember our names in 100 years? Yet with its moments of beautiful, contemplative lyricism, The Fault in Our Stars reminded me that maybe being loved by those around us is enough.
The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
The Perks of Being a Wallflower follows the gentle, self-conscious and intensely observant character of Charlie as he experiences both the trials and joys of coming-of-age and struggling to find one’s place in the world.
Stephen Chbosky’s characters are wonderfully endearing; in particular, Charlie’s deep appreciation of life’s beautiful moments is something that has stayed with me years after first reading the novel.
So I think next time a young adult novel takes my fancy, I will remember the value they have given me and showcase my copy with pride!
Now it’s over to you! Do you think we are ever too old to enjoy young adult novels? Please feel free to share your opinion in the comments, I would love to hear from you!