Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Breakfast with the Bookie - The Big Question: How Old is Too Old for YA ?

Breakfast with the Bookie is a weekly feature hosted here at Badass Bookie. Every Wednesday morning (or afternoon depending on where you are) I post a discussion post for everyone to read along with morning up of coffee ;)

Today’s Topic – The Big Question: How Old is too Old for YA?

It’s common knowledge that authors write for different age groups. We start with the picture books, then the chapter books, then the middle aged books then the YA books and finally the Adult books. The transition for me through the previous stages have been easy but YA is such a broad genre with so many great books that I don’t think I can ever let it go.

YA or Young Adult refers to the age bracket, 13 – 21 year olds. Well, I guess we can stretch the bracket to 24 but you get what I mean. I have never thought about this before but how do we make the transition from YA to just plain old A? One of my biggest fears is that one day I will magically stop reading YA without finishing all the good books out there ( scary aye? Global Warming and World War Three are nothing compared to it pfffft.)

So I’m curious, what age do you think is too old for YA? A part of me wants to say 30, but that would be hypocritical since I’m probably going to be ones of those Twimums that wear Team Jacob (FTW!!!) t-shirts to the bus stop and carry around books about teenagers falling in love and social hierarchy. Another part of me wants to say never but I would imagine there must be a cut off line between young adult and plain old adult. If not, why do authors bother writing adult fiction?

For me right now, I’m going to just go with the flow. I highly doubt that I will read YA for the rest of my life (the truth hurts). If I get to the age 30 and think I’m too old for this, I probably pick up my first book where the protagonist just went through and ugly divorce and am currently unemployed. We put an age group on a book depending on how well we can relate to it.

I like to think I’ll never get old, never have to do my own laundry and never have to pay the bills but that’s wishful thinking, just like the fact that I will forever read YA. However, in the mean time I going take down the YA genre one book at a time ;) BTW I’m betting 30 as too old for YA.

Badass Bookie xx


  1. I don't think you ever get too old for YA or for picture books. I like to think that what happens is that you expand what you are reading and add some adult books too. That is what I do. I turned 60 this past summer. I still enjoy a great picture book and a well-written young adult book. Of course, as a school media specialist, I feel that I need to read a wide variety of genres in a wide variety of age groups so that I can better serve my patrons.

  2. I'm with Kathy, I'm 31 (soon to be 32) and still read YA. The best thing about getting older is that you realise you can get older but you don't have to get old. I probably appreciate YA in a different way to actual young adults, for me it's pure escapist reading and a great break from the real world of laundry and bill paying :-). Of course I read literature for adults too and appreciate it for different reasons. And now that I have a little boy I'm re-learning to love children's books too. I forgot how awesome Grug is :-)

  3. You can't really put a specific cut off age for reading books you enjoy. I might not always read YA as much, but I will probably always read it.

    I have yet to find adult books that click with me. Mostly for the reason that YA is an escape. I am married, we're working on kids, we have family know, real life stuff. I don't really want to read books about what I am living.

    So I don't see myself looking for something other than YA anytime soon. And like I said before, I probably won't really ever give it up.

  4. I am 30 and YA is definitely one of my favorite genres. If the story is good, who cares what the target age is? (That is, if the age is younger than you are - we probably don't want some 10 year old reading adult books just because they are good stories).

  5. I'm 30 too and I read YA. It's mixed with the adult books I read too. When I was a teen, I read "adult" books (by choice, not just assigned reading). I think it all depends on what story appeals to you.

  6. +JMJ+

    C.S. Lewis once said that you never outgrow something you liked in childhood (such as fairy tales); you just learn to like new things so that your list of likes grows longer. I think we can say the same of the YA genre.

  7. I'm in my forties and love YA. I write it also, so that makes it a little different.

    At dance class the other day, another mom in her forties admitted that she has been reading mostly YA. She just picks up books that seem interesting, and they end up being YA.

    There's so much great YA out there. If it keeps up, I'll be reading (and writing) YA all my life.

  8. You will never be too old! It's all a state of mind. I am almost 40 and about four years ago made the decision to pretty much read MG/YA exclusively, I have never looked back--and that was before I was a middle school librarian! I do throw in an adult book (about one a month). Don't ever feel the pressure to quit. I find it more satisfying to introduce my friend to YA books. One of my friends was in a book club and I had her read The Hunger Games, then just kept recommending more and more YA. One day she told me that she likes reading again because she is reading for enjoyment, and not reading books that bring her down! That's awesome. I do feel bad when I read a MG book that I don't like. Normally instead of giving it a bad review on my blog I have one of my students read it and review it for me since they are the target audience. They normally like it and that makes me feel better!

    Anyway, that's why the subtitle of my blog is Comfort Reading because you should read what you enjoy not what you think you should read!

  9. Oh gosh, ever being too old for YA scares me! Though sometimes I feel like I'm doing it backward: I've been reading 'adult' novels since I was 10 or 11 I think, as far as I can remember we didn't have YA at my library and I already read all the books in the children's section.
    For a year and a half I've been reading YA and I absolutely love it. And you can never be too old to read books you love.

  10. I started reading adult novels when I was 11 or 12 (Stephen King and Dean Koontz) and now read YA at 37. If it appeals to you read it - don't worry about the age.

    I've read books about women in their 50s and love those and I read books about middle school kids and teenagers. And then of course I read adult novels as well. I think I pay more attention to the plot and characters than to their age. I do sometimes feel awkward checking out YA at the library, but I get over it - there are too many good YA authors to skip the genre/age group entirely.

    I don't want to grow up either and hate doing laundry (I'd rather read), but with two kids and a hubby who doesn't want to grow up, someone has to :)

    Great post - it's interesting to hear different people's point of views.

  11. I am over 40 and I love both YA and adult- adult I usually pick mostly paranormal and historical, I don't read contemporary because I feel its too much to real life. YA I read when I feel like going back to sweet romance without the heat. I think its just what you enjoy to read regardless how old you are.

  12. I'm like everyone else--way over 30. I still enjoy YA and since I'm an children's aspiring author, I still read upper middle grade fantasy. I know lots of people who still enjoy it, especially in the fantasy and paranormal genres.

  13. And here I was thinking at age 22 I was already too old for YA books. I mean, I'm the only one I know IRL who still reads YA books. All of my friends and family have already graduated to good ol' A books or grown up books as I call em'. I don't think I'll ever grow tired of YA books...MG books...picture books. I'll probably choose to incorporate more grown up books into my library as I grow older though.

  14. I'm 37 and will read YA still, but I don't seek it out particularly anymore because I find I'm much more critical of it these days. Part of that is just because I'm ancient, and partly because my oldest daughter is 14 and reading as a parent gives me a different perspective.
    I think life experience has a bigger impact on my reading habits than the date on my birth certificate.

    Shelleyrae @ Book'd Out

  15. I'm 39 and holding...and I LOVE YA books!! I love to read book blogs and see what everyone is reading. I read adult books too, but lately it's been mostly YA books. There are so many amazing books out there....maybe when I'm in the nursing home I'll read adult fiction only....or maybe not! :)

  16. The question "How old is too old for YA" is subjective, much like many other hot topics that are open for discussion these days. For this question, I think I'm going to have to go with "Read whatever the hell you want, as long as you're reading!" I'm serious, there are still thousands--millions--billions, who can NOT read or choose not to read at all, if they can help it.

    So yeah, I will never just sit down and think to myself "Am I suddenly too old to read YA?", much like how I will not ask myself in the same regard, with stuff like staying out late, or watching TV all night, or something like that. When the time comes, you'll know. Because YA is such a broad genre with sub-genres, there's a lot of base to cover and heaps of deeper books are out there. There will always be value in reading YA, and if you choose to stop reading it, or transition to other genres because you are embarrassed, I feel a bit sorry for you because YA is amazing. I would never pass judgement if it were just time to move on, or if your interests just don't coincide with what YA has to offer.

  17. I am 31 and ready mostly YA books. I got into the YA genre when I started reading the Twilight series. I still read adult books from time to time but I find that I look more for YA books. I am glad that I'm not the only person who is over 30 that still reads YA. I find that there is so much more material these days for teens then there was when I was younger. When I was a teen I remember reading the Sweet Valley High series and the Babysitters Club series. Teens don't know how good they have it these days with the wide variety of YA literature available.

  18. I'm going to be 32 this year and still love reading YA so I would say there is no age limit. Yes, I do read adult books and enjoy them but YA books just seems more escapist. The stories are just so much fun and imaginative.

  19. Nevvvvvvvvvvvverrr!
    Braveheart moment.
    No but serious, I don't think you're ever too old. As long as it speaks to you.
    I'm 35 in August and even though I'm not in the mood for YA these days, I do love and admire YA.

    *high five* to all the over 30s in the comments!

    PS Great blog! You go with your bada$$ self. You're making waves and keeping it fresh.