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Are young adult novels worth reading? Show more Show less
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Coined in the 1960s, young adult fiction was originally marketed at 12-18-year-olds to fill the gap between children's literature and adult literature. However, over half of young adult readers are actually adults. Should adults be embarrassed to read young adult novels, or are they worth reading?

No, young adult novels are not worth reading Show more Show less

Some critics believe young adult novels expose adolescents to adult themes they may not be ready for. Authors of young adult novels do not fulfil their responsibilities to protect their readers from amoral or psychologically traumatic content. Other critics believe adults should be ashamed to read young adult novels, claiming they are dull and uninspired with predictable themes. Young adult novels should not be read.
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Adults should be embarrassed to read young adult novels

Young adult novels are not serious enough for adult readers. Many writers are creating dull and uninspired stories that underestimate their demographics intelligence. Adults should be ashamed to read them, and teenagers deserve better.
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The Argument

Marketed at a demographic of twelve to eighteen-year-olds, some critics believe adults should be embarrassed to read novels aimed at adolescents.[1] In some people's opinions, young adult novels often feature idealized romance, trope characters, lazy storytelling, and overdone themes. One critic goes as far as saying 90% of young adult novels are crap.[2] Another critic believes young adult fiction is becoming dull and uninspired through its simplified prose. They criticized writers who simplify narrative, claiming it underestimates the intelligence of teenage readers and that they deserve better. [3] Children's writer Geraldine McCaughrean echoes this sentiment. During her 2018 Carnegie CLIP awards speech, McCaughrean spoke out about censorship of vocabulary in young adult novels .[4] McCaughrean, backed by the librarians on the Carnegie judging panel, argued stories with rich language and complex themes are vital in helping children develop their understanding of the world .[5] These proponents believe most young adult fiction is not good enough for its demographic, least of all adult readers.

Counter arguments

Despite its teenage market, a Nielsen survey estimated 80% of young adult fiction is bought by adults over the age of 25.[6] Many young adult stories are coming of age (Bildungsroman) novels. Coming of age novels focus on the moral or psychological development of their protagonist as they transition from childhood to adulthood.[7]This evokes nostalgia in adult readers who are reminded of their own teenage years. Young adult novels often have a happy ending and are full of hope. Comfort can be found from reading uncomplicated prose, where the protagonist overcomes hardship to find their place in their fictional world. Young adult novels can offer adults escapism from the complexities of the real world.[8]

Proponents

Premises

Rejecting the premises

References

  1. https://slate.com/culture/2014/06/against-ya-adults-should-be-embarrassed-to-read-childrens-books.html
  2. https://www.theguardian.com/books/booksblog/2016/aug/29/90-of-ya-is-crap-the-debate-that-dominated-the-edinburgh-book-festival
  3. https://studybreaks.com/culture/the-problems-with-young-adult-literature/
  4. https://usborne.com/blog/inside-usborne/geraldine-mccaughrean-winner-of-the-cilip-carnegie-medal-2018/
  5. https://www.theguardian.com/books/2018/jun/18/carnegie-medal-winner-slams-publishers-easy-reading-geraldine-mccaughrean
  6. https://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/childrens/childrens-industry-news/article/68083-nielsen-summit-shows-the-data-behind-the-children-s-book-boom.html
  7. https://literarydevices.net/bildungsroman/
  8. https://keepingupwiththepenguins.com/why-are-adults-reading-ya-books/#:~:text=Young%20adult%20books%20often%20remind,at%20one%20time%20or%20another.
This page was last edited on Monday, 26 Oct 2020 at 20:52 UTC

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