1) Being an adult BLOWS sometimes. Every part of your life is laced with responsibility and hard choices. You have to worry about money, possibly kids or a spouse, keeping up with the highlight reel of your friends’ Facebook/Instagram feeds and maintaining your sanity in a society where it is always more, more, more. Even if you have the wonderful outlook that says you have no one to keep up with and you refuse to partake in the materialistic things (which I try to have), you still have sucky stuff to deal with because you’re a grown up.
Enter a YA novel. You’re reading about high school or early college-age kids. You get lost in a place where you were still kind of naïve but had little responsibility. You experience innocence and the newness of growing up. You taste first kisses and feel the overwhelming emotions of first love. You don’t worry about mortgage payments, groceries or cable bills. You get to go back to that place where the only thing that mattered was what was happening right in front of you.
2) Relationships are hard. I’m married. But, even if you’re single and dating, relationships are hard. Marriage, especially, is a lot of work because you signed on for the long haul. It’s totally worth it and I love my husband more than anyone in the world, but it’s not all sunshine and rainbows. Reading YA brings you back to the beginning. It reminds you what those early feelings were like. The anticipation, the first kiss, the way you got to know each other and all of your inside jokes. The fumbling and the fights. The passion that overtook everything else and made the world disappear. YA helps you remember. It gets you out of your day to day grind and gives you the opportunity to revel in what got you to where you are.
3) It can be completely unrealistic and you don’t care. I love paranormal. Love it. That’s why I write it. But part of why I love it is because it’s just not possible (at least outside of my wildest dreams). Everyday life is strewn with crappy stuff. The news does nothing but go on and on about it all. When I escape into a book, that’s exactly why I’m there – total escapism. I still haven’t read The Fault in Our Stars because it’s too real for me. Kids get cancer. Their lives are snuffed out far before their time. I don’t really want to read about that. I want magic, flying, shape-shifting, takeovers of Immortal kingdoms – ALL OF IT. I want to be concerned for characters that are put in situations that could never happen because then I don’t really have to worry about them. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve cried my eyes out during a paranormal YA read (ahem…Wickedly Lovely or the Iron Queen series), but at the end of the day I’m not reading about a situation I could see on the news tomorrow. And I want the good guy to win. Even if my heroine has made seventeen wrong decisions along the way and I’ve wanted to throat punch her a few times, she’s going to get her act together and get it done.
I could honestly keep going. This list could get so long, but these are the top reasons I read YA. That’s not to say these things can’t be found in adult fiction – there are some amazing authors out there that I know hit it out of the park every time – but I gravitate toward YA in most instances for all of the reasons I’ve listed. I’d love to know what draws you in to a genre! Are you a YA fan? Why or why not?