Some of the things I'm referring to:
- YA books are good for our kids because they can't handle the harder stuff.
- Classics are good for our kids because YA is too easy.
- Kids shouldn't be forced to read classics in school, it will kill their love for reading.
- Kids should be challenged to read classics.
- Adults shouldn't read YA... how juvenile of them! I will never read YA!
- I'm a YA only person, I stay away from those complicated adult books.
- YA has dumbed us all down. Yes? No?
- Why is this particular book adult and not YA?
- And why is this particular book YA and not adult?
- YA is safe for my kids because they are cleaner.
- The very term "adult" means there's bad stuff in it.
And on and on and on! Whew, does it make your head spin?
As one who loves YA books, I don't understand the mantra "I will never read YA" because wow, what a lot of awesome deep, thought provoking books you'll be missing! I think some people have the misconception that YA books are full of whiny angsty teenagers. I agree this would get on my nerves after awhile, but so many of these books truly have some awesome life lessons to learn. It makes me sad that some will never read them because of the way they are shelved or marketed.
On the other hand, the adult books and good old classics also have much to offer. So if we have the stance that our kids can't handle these books (or ourselves for that matter) once again, wow... what a lot of good stuff you are missing! Because we are scared to kill the reading bug in our kids, does that mean we shouldn't offer them some of those classics? Of course not. And are our kids too dumb these days to "get" them anyway? I really hope not. Besides, if we don't try to have them read these types of books, we'll never know what passion we may have missed feeding. This goes not just for kids, but for ourselves too.
Also, let's not be thinking of the terms YA and adult as a book rating system. (This was part of a discussion I had last night with Emily's Reading Room and Alternate Readality, giving you both credit for making me thinking about this particular aspect of the subject!) Some readers do start thinking this way. However, there's some YA that is so "gritty" and "edgy" that it will curdle the blood of a few conservative people I know. While at the same time, there's adult books that are as clean and as pure as can be!
I really truly think there's a middle ground here. Both types of books have their merits. It bugs me when people look down on YA and it bugs me when people pooh pooh the classics, and contemporary adult books. It's sad that this marketing scheme has put a lot of people into different camps. Books are books, I say! Read them all!
What do you think?