The other day I was on YouTube listening to someone in their twenties talk about a few of their favourite books. I wasn't fully paying attention - the video was open in another tab and I was just listening - but suddenly my ears pricked up.
"Even though it's a Young Adult book, it's such a smart read."
One of my pet hates is when someone outside of the Young Adult demographic makes the genre seem inferior, sometimes without even realising they're doing it. There's the idea that YA books are less smart than those aimed at adults; that they don't tackle difficult topics, that they're all 'easy reads', that they're simply not as good as adult books because they're aimed at younger people who therefore must be less intelligent.
Who remembers that Slate article? It said: "Adults should feel embarrassed about reading literature written for children." Why should they? Since when has it been okay to belittle people for reading? When a teenager is reading books considered to be aimed at adults, everyone's fine with it. They're praised for being so mature. But when an adult reads a book for teenagers, it tends to be the opposite and I'm not sure why.
Here's what I think: you can read what you want to read. Books are for everyone. So what if you're a thirty-year-old who enjoys books about broken families, like in Salvage, or exciting teenage road trips, like in From What I Remember? Don't feel ashamed for reading something that wasn't originally marketed at you because, at the end of the day, you're the one reading an awesome book and having a good time. The person sat across from you on the tube who looked at the book in your hands and tried not to laugh? They're missing out on a vibrant world full of diversity and adventure.
I know which person I'd rather be.
What are your thoughts on all of this?
On a completely different topic, I've got a couple of things to tell you. The first is that I recently wrote a piece for the Guardian about mental health issues in YA, and you can read it here. It's had over 1,000 shares and I'm really happy with the response it's had so far, especially as it's so personal. I'd love for you to check it out and let me know what you think, either here in the comments or on Twitter!
Secondly, I'm lucky enough to have been shortlisted in the Blogger's Blogger category in the UKYA Blogger Awards and, if you feel like I deserve it, I'd love for you to vote for me. Obviously you don't have to if you don't want to - just make sure you read my Guardian article instead. ;) Thanks for reading this little update-ish bit!