Armchair BEA – Day 5: Middle Grade/Young Adult

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Our final genre of discussion is one that we know is a popular one these days: books for the younger crowd, from middle grade to young adult. If you do not normally talk about this genre on your site, maybe you want to feature books that you remember impacting you during this stage in your life. If this is where you tend to gravitate, maybe you want to list your favorites, make recommendations based on genres, or feature some titles that you are excited to read coming later this year. 

Hi.  I’m Melissa.  I’m thirty-something years old, and I’m an avid reader of YA novels.  I love them – YA Fantasy is my all-time favorite genre – but it tends to make me forget that I’m, well, an ADULT adult.  Yeah.  We’re talking about sex scenes.  I like sex (I think most of us do), but I also like the way YA authors can dance around the subject without, well, getting too graphic.  I like the hints and innuendos and stolen kisses.  I like that I get to use my imagination for the rest.  I like reverting back to my misty-eyed junior high school self and daydreaming about simple, honest romance.

And then I remember I’m married, and I’m a mom, and I have a mortgage, so I open up a book geared towards my own age range.

Adult novels, it turns out, are slightly more straightforward about sex.  I’m not reading romance novels or anything (though there might be one or two hidden under my bed), but I guess the fun part – for me – is getting to use my imagination, and when everything’s all spelled out for me (see what I did there?) I feel like it’s not quite as fun to read.

It’s not just the sex, either – it’s an entire perspective shift.  When did “adult” turn into code for “you don’t have to use your imagination anymore”?  Why do we, as adults, expect not to have to use our brains for anything other than decoding the words on the page?  No wonder reading isn’t fun anymore once you grow up – it’s not the same experience.  It’s not Narnia or Hogwarts or Wonderland – it’s all murders and sex and betrayal.  The joy – the WONDER of reading – is getting to use your imagination.  Hear me, adult authors!  Just because I’m old enough to have a retirement account doesn’t mean I don’t like time-travel and magic and happy endings!

So yeah.  Most of the books on my shelves are written for thirteen-year-olds.  I don’t care.  Reading something that’s already got all the details is news.  Reading something that encourages you to use your imagination – that’s AWESOME (and just for the record, I can imagine some pretty darn cool stuff).





  1. traci16 says:

    I agree..most of my books are YA as well..I never really got into the romance or historicals. I do love the Black Dagger Brotherhood series and Guardians of the Underworld, but my YA books are my favorites

  2. LOL! I love books with murders and sex and betrayal.

    However, I agree with you. I like YA because it isn’t any of those things – usually. In many ways I think that YA stories are harder to write than adult books. Authors really have focus on plot and character and not rely on murders and sex to keep readers interested.

    I try to slip some YA in each year to keep my reading palate clean 🙂

  3. Hallo, Hallo! 🙂

    *waves!* I am thinking I was on your blog earlier in the week OR I was meant to be, as I had copied down more blogs to visit! In either case, I am on Team4 with the #cheerREADERS for #ArmChairBEA! 🙂 Ooh, wow! You would love ChocLitUK novels! Christina Courtenay writes about time slips in such a clever way for instance — I am still in the middle of reading “The Silent Touch of Shadows” for review on my blog! And, like you, I tend to gravitate towards the awe & wonder in Children’s Lit! I have a whole page dedicated to the subject, and it will start to populate with reviews once I get back into reading the books as readily as I once did! The last YA book I read was this week during the #ArmChairBEA: “Uncovering Cobbogoth” which I reviewed, but ohh! I loved how it combined Icelandic mythology & archaeological adventure!

    I like delving into realms that tempt my imagination just like you — but I also love uplifting Romance and Romance based on relationships! I am also an adult who is a thirty-something and I read an eclectic array of fiction! You’ll have to visit me sometime — you will be pleasantly surprised! I actually started to jump dive back into Children’s Lit because of my nieces & nephews, but then, as I knew I would be a Mum one day, I wanted to start to uncover those magical worlds that were created *after!* I left my own childhood! Books like “The Dragon in the Driveaway” or “The Sixty-Eight Rooms”!

    Speaking of “Wonder”,.. you should drop by sometime and read my take on that novel too! 🙂 I really absorbed into the world R.J. Palacio left behind for us to muse about! I love reading books that enrich my heart as much as my spirits and imagination. I do not think it matters which books we are reading as long as we’re R E A D I N G! Why justify it?! I used too explain it myself, until th authors themselves said, why not just celebrate liking it for loving what drew you to it?! And, I could not agree more! I might have started my quest out of wondering what had come next after my own childhood (hey! I was into Harry Potter at 21 and felt it was a second childhood!), but I came to *love!* Picture Books, Juvenile Fiction, Middle Grade, & Young Adult!

    Let’s all just celebrate that together!

    • As long as everyone is READING!!! YES! I didn’t get into Harry Potter until I was almost 30. It is by far my favorite series. I’ll be stopping by your site soon!! =)

      ~ Chrissy

      • Thank you for posting a badge for the Summer Reading Challenge! 🙂 I had not come across that programme beforehand & I am thankful you are a part of it as you opened my eyes to this opportunity as a book blogger! I gave you credit when I contacted them! This is why I appreciate events like #ArmChairBEA! Not only do we find new bookish friends & bloggers, but we are introduced to new bookish opportunities! 🙂

        I still haven’t technically read Harry Potter — and it will be wayy past my twentytenth year when I finally do! Reading has no upper age limit – reading is available no matter our age or station in life because it is limitless for what the freedom of reading gives to each of us! 🙂 Rock on!

        • The Summer Reading Challenge is wonderful. I have loved the first three books so far. And I agree, Armchair BEA has been great. Love meeting new bloggers and finding new blogs to follow.

          You’re right, reading has no upper age limit. Harry Potter is by far my favorite series of books. Up until I started blogging, I read the series every year. I’m hoping to fit in a reread this year.

          I hope you stop by again, even though Armchair BEA is over. I enjoy interacting with readers of the blog. 🙂

    • I read Uncovering Cobbogoth recently too – it was great! Thanks for popping in, Jorie!

  4. I disagree. I feel that I am seeing some Adult book shaming here. There are adult books that have imagination, that have time traveling, magic and HEA. And to say that they are driven by murder and sex? That it is easier to write Adult books because authors don’t have to focus as much on plot and characters? I am officially mind blown by these two ignorant statements. It’s like saying many YA books rely on love triangles to keep readers interested because readers want to see which will be the winning couple. And no, I don’t believe that to be true. I am just giving an example.

    I love reading YA and Adult books. Coming from a person that actually likes to read both genres and not just one of them, I know I have read good and bad books from both groups. YA books are not better than Adult books and vice versa. All good books are hard to write, even children’s books!

    • I read all genres, and I agree, not all adult books are driven by murder and sex. And not all YA books are driven by love triangles. But, there are quite a few that do have these aspects. I have read a lot of adult books that have fantasy and imagination and magic and HEAs. I loved most of them. There are good and bad in every genre.

      ~ Chrissy

    • Of course! I’m sorry if I offended you, Alyn – I tend to paint with a wide brush sometimes (I know, I know, you’re shocked!). I’ve been quite disappointed with the adult novels I’ve been reading lately, but I’m not giving up on the entire genre – just trying to remind readers (and writers) that it’s ok to hold on to their child-like wonder! =)

      • I’m not offended, just more disappointed in some of the comments I read. Lately it seems like there has been a lot of backlash on the internet on genres such as romance, and YA books. I felt that as YA readers and possibly romance readers too, many of us should know better than to put down another genre as being inferior to our preferred genre.


  1. […] Melissa wants more imagination in adult books. […]