MIDDLE GRADE/YOUNG ADULT
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).