2. The Host by Stephenie Meyer
3. Shadow Kiss (Vampire Academy #3) by Richelle Mead
4. A Great and Terrible Beauty (Gemma Doyle Trilogy #1) by Libba Bray
WHY YOU'RE NEVER TOO OLD FOR YA
As some of you guys already know, I'm a nineteen year-old college student. This puts me into that horrific-slightly-awkward-in-between category when you're not quite done being a teenager but you're trying to act like an adult. As such, I spend a lot of time flipping back and forth between teen lit (otherwise known as young adult) and adult books.
The summer I turned eighteen, I came across a crisis in my formerly happy bookish world. At eighteen, I was officially considered an “adult,” in the eyes of the law. Eighteen should be a great birthday, right? You get to vote, you get that annoying little driving curfew that none of us pay attention to removed, you’re graduating high school and ready to move out, etc. But I found one little problem amongst all the benefits of the age.
I was growing up.
I’d been noticing during recent trips to the library that I was among the oldest chronic loiterers in the “Teen” section. Why did this bother me, you ask? Because it brought up a question that I didn’t want to think about. Am I too old for reading young adult books? At the time, I was afraid of being too childish or immature by clinging to the type of books that I’d loved for so long. And (as I’m now ashamed to admit), there were a few times when I was embarrassed to check out a certain book or be seen reading it because of the age range it was associated with. The fact was that, for a brief period of time, I was convinced that because I was now an “adult,” I should be spending all of my reading time in the “adult” world.
I couldn’t have been more stupid. Fortunately, I got over my little crisis rather quickly, and decided that I was going to read whatever the H-E-double hockey sticks I wanted. But a new question began to form in my mind: Why are readers so attracted to young adult fiction? It wasn’t because these books were “easy” or “childish,” I knew that for sure. I saw the same people who were carrying around a copy of Ella Enchanted reading Nathaniel Hawthorne for fun three days later. After pondering the question for several days, I came to this conclusion.
You can’t place an age limit on books. Yes, I know that because of content, issues, reading levels, etc, books are often grouped into age categories. What I mean is that, just because you’re a socially challenged thirteen year-old or a soccer mom of thirty-five doesn’t mean you can’t pick up a kid’s book and enjoy it. Why? Because books at every level have themes that all of us can identify with. The simple fact is that books are one of the best forms of expression for human emotion. They make you laugh, they make you cry, they give you those warm fuzzy feelings and break your heart. Any object that is capable of doing this should be treasured and enjoyed by people of all ages.
As for me, I plan on reading young adult fiction until I’m a cranky old cat lady chasing the neighbor kids around with my broomstick. No matter how old we get, I think we’ll all be able to keep in touch with how it feels to be a teenager, and teen fiction will always be able to touch a special place in our hearts.
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