Interesting Books For A 12 Year Old Boy To Read Grow Up: Time to Give Up Your YA Books

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Grow Up: Time to Give Up Your YA Books

Tired of my Tumblr dashboard drowning under images of immaculate shelves filled with YA novels and neatly stacked Harry Potter books between a Macbook slim and a Starbucks mug, I thought I’d get out of my Nerdcave and see what it’s all about.

I started with a preconceived notion that YA was just another fad, followed by naïve teenagers with a particular taste for trash. I ended up with the idea confirmed that YA literature is just another fad followed by lazy adults who enjoy being brainless.

For starters, what on earth is Yong Adult? Even to that rather simple question, there is no single answer. According to the book publishers, a young adult is anyone between the ages of 12 and 18. Funny, I think of 12 year olds as “old kids”. However, I’ve heard writers and readers say that YA is aimed at 18-25 or even 15-30 year olds. I guess it’s only after 30 that you finally consider yourself a “real adult” or something.

I don’t want to sound picky or anything, but according to almost every dictionary, between the ages of 13 and 19 you’re a teenager. That’s right, not “young adult”, not “almost adult”, but a rebellious teenager with acne.

So why don’t publishers just call literature aimed at this 16-year-old age group “teenage literature”? I guess because they realized that “grown adults” read it too and would be embarrassed to go to the children’s section to buy their books. Understandable; it takes a lot of guts to flip through the Twilight books without pretending it’s for your little niece when you’re over 12, I’m not sure I’d have the balls to do that.

So… this little clarification brings us to the big fat question: “Why the hell do adults read books written for people much younger than them”?

I don’t like the answer I found one bit, but it’s the most obvious to me. I believe that people read YA for the simple reason that those books are written with a plot that is not too difficult to follow, not too complex characters in a style that is not too complicated to understand. Am I saying that YA readers are stupid? No. That YA reader is lazy? Yes. More precisely, on an intellectual level. That’s the problem of our generation, people are so used to having everything chewed up in advance, ready on demand that they don’t have to make an effort, like thinking (ouch, my head hurts!), this is reflected in their reading habits.

“Why am I exhausting myself using my brain to read a book written in subtle prose with an intricate plot and well-developed characters? Maybe it would make me think, let’s read, Divergent, Maze Runner, whatever… ‘ OK, that’s gross and generalizing, but that’s how the masses think and not just with literature.

To some extent I understand that actual teenagers enjoy YA, after all they are the target niche. The teenage years are shit, they’re a period of self-doubt, and it’s legitimate to enjoy reading about young characters going through an existential crisis of puberty when you’re going through the same. YA authors realize that they perfectly and relentlessly flood the book market with so-called “real problem” YA literature. (Oh! I have cancer and so do you, let’s get together!) Why not… Teenagers need to blow off steam from their oversensitive hormones every now and then.

However, what I do not approve of is “adults” reading YA. You have no excuse to identify with the characters (or explain to me how a 28-year-old woman can identify with a pre-pubescent schoolgirl… ). You have no excuse for “adult literature” to be complex either, you’re grown ups be damned!! Not young adults, not old adults, not part-time adults. Only damn mature and grown adults. Now maybe it’s time to act like it and stop hiding your ignorance behind “young adult” bullshit.

It’s time to grow up, to challenge your mind, to read something a little more substantial than sweet teenage romances. It’s time to crack open books that are difficult for you to read, with plots that are hard to follow, or writing styles that you wouldn’t go for. This way you will develop the ability to judge and think for yourself. It is your duty as an adult to educate yourself, to sharpen your mind and challenge your brain.

I’m sorry to break it to you, but you can’t be a child forever, no matter how cool it sounds. As an adult, you now have rights and responsibilities towards society so please don’t screw it up. It worries me that I’m surrounded by people who lack the curiosity to discover new things and prefer to swallow the crap they’ve been force-fed. I am convinced that the world would not be in such a mess today if people read less John Green and more George Orwell. I’m not saying the two are incompatible, it’s just like a diet: eat (read) whatever you want, but eat (read) a little bit of everything and occasionally indulge in junk food (books). That’s how you stay healthy (smart).

I’ll stop my rant here and just say that (good) YA literature, or whatever you want to call it, is fine for teenagers who can enjoy teary-eyed stories for a few more years and not think too much about anything except themselves. But you “grown adults” who swear that ‘The Fault in Our Stars’ isn’t just ‘Twilight on Chemo’, I think you’re just trying to bury your head in the sand and pretend you’re still a carefree youth (YOLO !), regardless to the questions that really matter. It’s okay, ignorance is apparently bliss.

With all that said, I’m just going to go back to my Nerdcave to play with all my ‘age 3+’ video games.

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