In a recent writing class, we were asked to share our reading habits and favorite authors.  And would you guys believe, I was the only person to claim Young Adult fiction. While everyone else was too busy name-dropping Virginia Woolf and Fitzgerald, I showed zero shame in announcing that John Green was the writer I admired most. I couldn't help but feel the intense stigma that young literature carried in my class (and to feel the stigma in an online class is saying a lot).  Who do they think is writing this stuff?  
As an avid YA reader (and defender), I have encountered some criticism surrounding the genre that really pushes my buttons.  Here are some major myths that I would like to expunge right now...

They are only for teenage girls.
I don't know exactly where that line is drawn, but I do know that it doesn't matter.  I read YA, and I'm clearly not a YA.  Just like you don't have to be a alien to like Sci-Fi, or a vampire to like Paranormal, or a ripped Highlander to like Historical Romance, you don't have to be a teenager to enjoy stories written about them.  The great thing about YA is there is something for everyone.  
YA recommendations for boys: The Maze Runner, Ender's Game, author: Walter Dean Myers.

They are easier and/or smaller than adult novels
While there are a wide variety of reading levels within young fiction, the assumption that it is all made simple is, quite simply, an insult.  There are a wide variety of reading levels in adult fiction too, and not all of them are Faulkner.  You'll find the same cast of literary devices within any YA novel as you will a contemporary one. And as for smaller, have you seen the doorstop that is the The Half-Blood Prince?
Proof: the poetry of Sonya Sones, historical fiction by Laurie Halse Anderson, the imagery of Tahereh Mafi

The characters are flat and stereotypical.
I admit, I have complained in the past of the Bella-mold protagonist before. "Clumsy and humble" does not a flawed character make.  It's true that YA does tend to lean more toward likeability with their character development, we can't dismiss it all. There are equally as many amazing and complex characters to come out of this genre.
Proof: The Book Thief, anything by John Green and David Levithan

The subject matter is less mature.
As if adults are fighting bigger battles than teenagers.  As if adults need relatable literature more.  Teenagers are only dealing with flirty romance and math quizzes, right?  Were you sleeping through The Breakfast Club? (look it up, kids)  You thought The Hunger Games was dark. Psh.
Proof: Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, If I Stay by Gayle Forman, The Book Thief

It is not real literature.
While literature majors and contemporary writers are turning their noses up at the Young Adult genre, YA authors are making new readers everyday.  If kids are reading, what could you possibly have to complain about?  And who knows, maybe today's YA readers will grow up to be tomorrow's Adult readers...but then again, maybe not.  

YA has come a long way.  Do you know what the Young Readers shelf looked like when I was a teenager?  Teachers were giving us Hatchet and Island of the Blue Dolphins, and for entertainment, we had The Babysitter's Club and R.L. Stine.  While those were great, I would have devoured the YA shelves we have today.  What am I saying? I still do, even at 30. I remember reading The Giver as a young teen and falling in love, but I really had nowhere to go from there.  Now, the genre has a wide selection of dystopian, contemporary, romance, paranormal, LGBT, crime, history, sci-fi...I can keep going.  Can't you just feel the excitement around this entire genre right now?  I would be so honored to someday contribute to it. 

What are your thoughts on this genre?  What are some of your favorites?  I would love to hear your thoughts!  Link up below to share.

Our co-host today is the reason I've read most of the YA books that I've read.  She has great taste in music and books and shares them all on her blog.  Please add her to your reading list.  

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