I am currently addicted to a young adult series and I wasn’t sure whether to review it or not because as someone in my mid 20’s I worry that I shouldn’t really be reading young adult books and sharing that with the world. But I can’t resist and instead I am going to discuss why certain young adult SHOULD be read by adults of all ages. I am only referring to Young Adult fantasy and Sci-fi in this review.
I do read a lot of young adult fantasy novels. Some of the books that I read I have to stop because it is just too young for me and I can’t empathise with the characters and there is no depth to it. I was really looking forward to reading the knife of never letting go by Patrick Ness because the premise sounded really good, but having bought them I discovered that it was made up of different fonts for ‘hearing voices’ and there were spelling and grammar issues that were intensional but made it unreadable for me.
Having said that some of the young adult fiction out there is mind blowing. One of the things that attracts me to young adult fiction is that it is first and foremost an easy read. I find the writing very contemporary and modern, and you don’t have to sit with the thesaurus next to you to look up the complex vocabulary that can be found in adult fantasy/sci-fi fiction. I also find the ideas and the way they are presented very interesting compared to a lot of adult fantasy, you don’t have to work as hard to be involved and understand what is happening.
If someone was to ask me one of my favourite things about young adult fiction it would have to be the relationships. Most of the books I read in this genre have some sort of relationship/forbidden love/love triangle and it seems to be a prerequisite to the genre. I find that in the young adult genre feelings of love and all it entails are discussed in great detail and it is like you are back there being 16/17/18 and discovering love and the other sex. In adult fiction love is shown and hinted at and more complex themes and circumstances are used to develop it where as with young adult fiction it is so much easier. Instant attraction and the complexities that come with that are explored. Another way to look at it is that most of the young adult fiction have very attractive and romantic men in them which in reality is not always the case which adult fiction reflects.
But every now and then it is nice to experience the ideal man and an ideal world where the boy that you have fallen for not only loves you back but worships and would give his life for you – and in the books often tries to. The love described in young adult fiction is very intense and it is nice to be able to experience that because living in the real world you can’t have obsessive intensive love or nothing would get done. There are no battles with aliens or enemies to defeat, there are jobs to be done, the 9 till 5 rigmarole and mundane tasks like grocery shopping. For the real life man he has no opportunity to show us the depth of his love by jumping in front of bullets or saving you from a vampire/werewolf or monster. So this is why I love to read young adult fiction because I get to experience an implausibly amazing, intense true love where the man comes to the rescue and can’t possibly be without you. Then I stop reading go upstairs and stand sobbing at the door to the computer room where my husband is playing computer games instead of proclaiming his undying love for me whilst protecting me from terrifying werewolves and vampires. As a result of Young Adult fiction I have at least 20 fictional men I am in love with. So I take delight in telling said husband he is only one of 20 men that I love!
If the topic of love doesn’t have you jumping to pick up some young adult fiction, but you are willing to forgive its existence in this genre then you should do so as some of the ideas and the themes within genre are very interesting. I believe there are a lot more young adult books with a female protagonist than there are with a male protagonist. Maybe this is just because of the type of YA fiction that I read. However, this in itself is a pleasure to read. There are many books out there with a kick ass heroine who could take on the stereotypical male hero who saves the defenceless girl and make him run away screaming. The best example of this that I have read is the Women of the Otherworld series by Kelley Armstrong the first one is ‘bitten’.
There are many flaws in Young Adult fiction but if you know before you are going in that it is easy escapism and a way to relive your youth then you will enjoy it and find it rewarding. However it would be even more rewarding if you look deeper at the themes and issues that are being embedded within the story making them much more than books for children but guides for the young and malleable minds that are reading them. For me I love that young Adult fiction inspires women and gives them expectations of men, perhaps unrealistic but it helps them to aim high with who they choose to love. These novels also set out to show complicated and strange worlds and these young characters are trying to find there place and navigated difficult social structures which is what a lot of us are still doing now. Which I think makes them relatable for all ages.
For a guide to for some young adult books to read then please comment and I can recommend many different titles depending on what you are looking for. The books I am reading at the moment I am going to review as a whole when I have finished the series. Happy reading!