Young Adult novels have had their fair share of slander over the years, but should a novel aimed a specific audience really be disregarded because of said audience? I’m not arguing that we should take ‘Twilight’ and put it up there with canon literature but sometimes I can’t help but get the impression there is a certain amount of snobbery associated with the genre, especially when it comes to the romances. I get the feeling the reason for this is big cooperate book stores and their obsession with for some reason placing all the books with the cheesy covers featuring beautiful swooning girls and ethereal men on the cover with some half-hearted review by Stephanie Meyer in their own little section, hereby giving the impression that all young adult literature is read by overly hormonal, fourteen year old girls. I’m talking about beautiful coming of age stories from geniuses like John Green and Steven Chbosky, Dystopia worth of George Orwell in the form Lauren Destefato and Suzanne Collins, heart breaking, moving books from Lauren Oliver. When I say YA lit I don’t mean the cliché we all so readily accept of a twelve year old girl swooning over Edward Cullen. I don’t have any problem reading canon literature, and can appreciate it as much as the next person- but I feel like the stigma given to YA can make me feel slightly inadequate for shopping in the ‘teenage’ section of Waterstone’s, because sometimes bit of teen drama is exactly what you need. I feel like incredible authors can be disregarded for their audiences which really shouldn’t be what reading is all about. A book should be based on the words, the connection with the reader, not what genre/audience it has.
I’m not saying I don’t appreciate and read adult literature, Classics, poetry, biographies, I’m open to anything as I think most people should be, what I am saying is that yes, sometimes you want to read a book with all the complexities, that people have spent time and energy studying, that are about people with vastly complex and interesting lives who make you question the metaphorical resonance of the world around- and then sometimes you want to read a book purely for the story, for the escapism and the teen drama. The genres of fiction, and teen fiction shouldn’t be set with such a fine line. I know plenty of people who can enjoy both. So stop reading the cliché of teen lit which seems to have been constructed, because the audience shouldn’t define the book, there are a lot of really beautiful books in there which shouldn’t be over looked. So don’t pass it off because of the cliche associated with it; don’t overlook the beautiful novels hidden amongst it, because in my opinion it should be credited just as much as any other form of literature.
By Eloise Pearson