I was browsing online last night when I came across this article out of Goodreads, and couldn’t help but stop and read. The question posed was intriguing, Can You Be ‘Too Old’ for YA? The Goodreads blogger did enough research to show that in fact, many adults DO enjoy Young Adult books, and make up a significant number, if not the majority of the readership. As a former Young Adult Librarian, this got me thinking. A year ago I moved from Young Adult librarianship to Adult, and I was curious to know, had I kept up with the genre I had loved so fervently?
The answer was fairly surprising, even to myself. Looking back through my Goodreads account I did notice an uptick in Adult materials, but that the bonds that I had formed to certain YA authors and series’ had not gone away. After analyzing even further, I seemed to find a common theme. While I still enjoyed Young Adult books written for a YA audience, I seemed to also be gravitating towards Young Adult themed books – written for adults. Books such as The Last Time I Lied by Riley Sager jump back and forth between an adult protagonist and her fifteen year old former self. The story clearly is inspired by YA books, but also makes itself more available for an older reader. The situations you may find in YA literature are present here: an unsure female heroine, a dormant crush, a mystery beyond comprehension. The emotional drama and yearning to find yourself are always present, lurking in the shadows.
I also had taken an interest in similar books, notably All These Beautiful Strangers by Elizabeth Klehfoth and The Fever by Megan Abbott. Similar to The Last Time I Lied, these books are written for Adults, but clearly feature Young Adult plot lines and characters. During the reading of all three books, I found myself constantly checking Goodreads and the BCCLS catalog to see if these books had wrongly cataloged as Adult. The answer? They were overwhelmingly Adult books!
I think that this has become the beauty of Young Adult literature. These are universal themes that authors are now grabbing onto in hopes of being able to spread the spirit of YA books far beyond what had previously been established. Adults who were hesitant to grab a YA book now don’t even need to, because they can still get the same experience from their “Adult” book. Ultimately, whether you want to read classic YA literature such as Speak or The Hunger Games, or a hybrid geared towards an older reader, I am certain that there is no way that you can ever be too old to read YA.
-Katie Neylan, Head of Adult Services