10 reasons it’s OK for adults to read young-adult novels


10 reasons it’s OK for adults to read young-adult novels

Annisa Ihsani
Annisa Ihsani

Writer, book nerd, and mother of one.

Posted: Fri, April 15 2016 | 02:20 pm It’s OK for adults to read young-adult novels.(Shutterstock/-)

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When I was in sixth grade, my family moved to a small town where there was a limited number of bookstores with few choices of middle-grade books.

I soon got bored with the Goosebumps series and moved to Agatha Christie’s mystery novels, which my mother decided were quite tame and readable for an 11-year-old.

But while I was a fan of Hercule Poirot, at times I got tired of all the crime and would steal a glance at the wider variety of adult books. Someday I’d be able to read them all, I thought.

Ironically, now that I’m an adult, I have a lack of interest in so-called adult books. I tried to like Charles Dickens, really. I’ve read the first few pages of all of his books, only to give up because I couldn’t care less about the characters.

And I just don’t get Haruki Murakami. I’ve read four of his novels now; the beginnings are always enjoyable and page-turning. But then, halfway through each book, the plot always gets so wild that I find myself wondering what the hell is going on.

So even though I don’t consider myself a picky reader and try my best to read across genres, I particularly enjoy young adult (YA) novels.

There is an opinion, however, that it is embarrassing for adults to read books intended for teenagers. It’s as if YA is inferior to, say, classics.

But as an avid reader of YA, I can say you’re missing out on many things if you don’t at least give them a try. Here’s why:

Accessible language

It’s always best to deliver ideas in simple language. Complex writing and flowery sentences make me lose focus.

Various themes

It’s not always about star-crossed lovers dying from cancer. You can also find characters struggling with mental health, sexual identity, post-apocalyptic zombies, spirituality, dragons, you name it.

Age does not determine intelligence

Many adults seem to think teenagers are stupid and immature. But I find teenagers interesting because teenage years are when you start to realize that, despite their best intentions, your parents are not always right. You start to question things and think for yourself.

Teenagers are more enthusiastic about things and more open to new ideas.

Less romance

Romance is kept in moderation, which is just perfect for my taste. I just don’t want to read steamy sex scenes, OK? OK.

Swoon-worthy characters

Augustus Waters thinks it’s a privilege to have his heart broken by you. And no one understands your deep, dark, emo heart like Holden Caulfield, right?

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone: The Illustrated Edition.(bloomsbury.com/Jim Kay)

It provides an escape

Is it just me or is it really hard to find adult fantasy books?

Harry Potter is still my comfort book whenever I need to get away from reality. I have yet to find world-building in adult novels that can compare to Hogwarts or Middle Earth.

Genre does not speak for writing technique

I’m always amazed at how great children’s book authors manage to convey so much information in so few pages. The writing is witty and neat, with no plot holes or irrelevant scenes.
I’d choose Philip Pullman over Stieg Larsson anytime.

Genres aren’t mutually exclusive

Reading YA does not stop you from reading other books. You don’t have to choose; you can read both John Green and Vladimir Nabokov.

A chance for nostalgia

I have to admit that being an adult is sometimes overwhelming and I just want to go back to being a teenager again.

You do not read to impress anyone

You read because it’s fun. The best reading experience is when you get so absorbed in a book that other books have to wait.

There is no shame in reading anything, so never let anyone tell you what to read and what not to read.


Annisa Ihsani is a writer, book nerd, and mother of one. She is the author of middle-grade novel “Teka-Teki Terakhir” (Gramedia Pustaka Utama, 2014 ).

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