The other day I was watching a show on Netflix called “Friends from College”. I don’t have a lot to say about the show because I made it 3/4 of the way through before I gave it the boot. Straight up I hated the characters, it was unfunny and about fake friends which I have had enough of in my life thank you. But you know what really got me pissed? The bagging out of the Young Adult (YA) genre.
In that tiny portion I watched, the characters (who were talking to an aspiring YA author) said that the genre is “not real literature”, it is “for adults who don’t want to grow up” and is “literally ruining society”. Look, I know that these are supposed to be funny, however because the show itself wasn’t funny, these comments had me really fucking pissed off.
I’ve seen people say Harry Potter isn’t real literature! Yep, a book series that inspired and continues to inspire young and old alike, a series that opened us up to a whole new magical world and allowed us to broaden our minds and our imaginations. I believe this series falls under superior or lasting merit. So, why do people continually go on about YA not being “real literature”? Here is what I think:
a) They have never actually read YA, and therefore think that these books could be compared to kids books such as “Spot goes to school” or “Wombat Stew”.
b) They have a superiority complex. Like, “look at me, I’m a big kid and read big books with big words”. Umm yeah, do you realise that it is mostly adults who write these books? YA books aren’t written by freaking toddlers.
c) They are embarrassed because they actually want to read YA but don’t have the guts to do it, and therefore to save face they need to bring up the “not real literature”…we can’t have people being suspicious!!
d) All of the above
I can completely understand if people don’t like reading YA. There is nothing wrong with that! I hate crime novels but I would never say that these aren’t real literature or condemn people who love to read this genre. Read whatever the fuck you like, but there is no need to make people feel “lesser” for reading a particular genre.
My next argument is against “adults who don’t really want to grow up”. Well ok, it may actually be a “for”. Honestly, who cares if adults don’t want to grow up and therefore read YA? There is nothing wrong with that!! I sure as hell don’t want to grow up, I want to be a sparkly unicorn forever!! I love reading books about young love, young adults finding themselves and learning from their mistakes. For me, I find that I can relate to the YA books because I feel like a part of me is still trying to find my self and I am learning from my mistakes. I also wish that I was discovering my magic like they do in YA books…this part makes me sad. But why on earth would you think lesser of someone who doesn’t want to fully grow up?
And lastly, “ruining society”. This is absolutely stupid, and it’s funny because I have seen it mentioned on twitter. How exactly is YA ruining society? Young adults have a place in the book community and they deserve that place. Of all people, they need our support and guidance. They do not need people telling them that a genre which is most relevant to them is ruining society. You know what kind of reading material ruins society? Anything anti-semetic, white-supremesist, homophobic, anti-islam, sexist, ableist…the list goes on. THAT is the sort of stuff that ruins society, and it is stuff that we are seeing on what seems to be a day-by-day basis. Focus on the things that really truly are making a negative impact on society rather than a YA book about a girl or boy discovering magic and going on an adventure.
Like I said, if you don’t like YA that is absolutely fine. You don’t have to! Just like I don’t have to like certain genres that you may be into. I can also understand people having a bit of a laugh…but when it comes to some of the things I mention above, it becomes personal to many readers. So before you feel like telling all us YA readers again how unintelligent we are for reading books that aren’t real literature, really, really think about it. Is your argument based on fact, or because you really actually think you are better than us.
If you think you are better than us, good for you…I hope you continue to enjoy the view from up on your high horse.