Bookish ramblings part 3: Is YA just an age?

I have recently joined a new FB group linked in with the book subscription box I signed up to.  They are a great bunch and the other day one of them posted this meme:

And it got me thinking, here I am, the wrong side of my 30’s with my favourite genre being YA fantasy.  It’s the first and pretty much only section of the bookshop that I visit. Is there anything wrong with that?

At first blush – no!  Not a chance, I love YA, books are for everyone – hooray!  But as I started to think more deeply about it I started wondering about how my reading of the books become skewed by my age.  For instance I will seldom read a character in a YA book as their actual age, they will all be adults around their 30’s and that’s how I picture them when I read, therefore it’s always a massive jolt when they do something I find to be inherently childish.  Then I remember.  Of course, this isn’t helped that more mature YA has some adult themes mostly of the bedroom kind, which brings out the parent in me. Young teenagers shouldn’t be acting this way and shouldn’t be reading this sort of thing!  Then I remember that I was around 11 or 12 when I first read Forever by Judy Blume.

It then got me thinking back to some of the reviews I have posted on here in the past, did I unfairly Judge because I’m twice the age of the demographic?  Thinking back to when I was 13, I had kissed a boy (shock!) and maybe I had then wanted to kiss another, so then surely if I was reading a book age 13 with these themes, I would see nothing wrong with it.  Was it then wrong that I marked it down because, it made me feel uncomfortable that a 12 year old girl had kissed a 15 year old boy? It wasn’t written for my age group and my discomfort was purely down to my age…hmmm.

So breaking it down this is what the google machine says about YA (and it’s not helpful)
“Some sources claim it ranges from ages 12-18 while authors and readers of “young teen novels” often define it as written for those aged 15 to the early 20’s.”  Perhaps then the bedroom antics aren’t too outrageous?

The thing is that I will continue to love reading YA Fantasy as it is pure escapism.  The muggle job is intense and stressful and at the end of a long day I just want to escape in a fantasy realm.  But there’s plenty of high fantasy written for adults I hear you say.  Well yes, there is.  But in my view it is dry and over wordy and hard going at times.  The YA fantasy worlds are fast paced, exciting and easy to get into which is why I will always go to the YA section first.  What I have learned though is to be gentler in my reviews and more forgiving of story lines which may be misconstrued due to my age.

How about you, are you a “grown up” YA reader, do you think your age impacts upon your reading of the genre?

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