Young Adult and Children’s Fiction. Yay or Nay?

Artemis Fowl    Shade's Children

Time Stops For No Mouse  The Giver

Hello. My name is Zahia. I am 22 years old and I read young adult and children’s fiction.

There. How’s that for a big literary confession?

It’s true though. I am a big fan of young adult (YA) and children’s fiction! I always have been, and I probably always will be. Oh, and I don’t care who knows about it either. I find the stories easy to read, entertaining, and exciting. Often, when I’m in a bit of a reading slump, picking up a YA or children’s book quickly puts me back on the reading track. 

It seems, though, that after you hit a certain age dictated by some weird societal construct (I’m still not sure what age this is exactly), you, as a reader, need to move on from YA/children’s fiction and stick to more adult stuff, whatever that is. I call bullshit! Sure, YA/children’s fiction is targeted towards a certain age group, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t read them if you don’t fall into that particular age category.

I feel like YA/children’s fiction is often freer to explore dystopian/fantasy/humorous story lines. Even as I experience them as an adult, these novels can still show me an imaginative, open-minded way of looking at the world. I have to admit, when I was younger I did enjoy reading the soppy love triangles (think Twilight, Hunger Games, Divergent) that seems to be incorporated in nearly every YA novel nowadays. Now though, I find these sorts of novels to be a bit sickly and so I tend to stay away from them. Last year I read Legend by Marie Lu and I loved the main plot! It was so exciting and the characters were so bad ass (I’m a sucker for a strong female protagonist). But, the romantic aspect of the story didn’t appeal to me at all and I found it all extremely unnecessary (the main characters literally start making out in the middle of an exciting chase scene…what?!). Some of my favourite YA/children’s novels and series involve strong characters and thrilling plot lines. These novels tend to be written in slightly simplified, yet slick, prose. Ultimately, I experience pure joy when I am sucked into a story that I don’t have to force myself to get through!

Here’s just a few of the YA/children’s novels and series that I continue to go back to, time and time again:

Artemis Fowl – Eoin Colfer

Alex Rider – Anthony Horowitz

A Series of Unfortunate Events – Lemony Snicket

The Giver Quartet – Lois Lowry

His Dark Materials – Philip Pullman

The Hermux Tantamoq Adventures – Michael Hoeye

Harry Potter – J. K. Rowling

Shade’s Children – Garth Nix

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory  – Roald Dahl (one of my all time favourite books…I am 100% unapologetic about it!)

I think everyone should be able to read what they want. The fact that you’re reading something in the first place is awesome! Reading should be an enjoyable experience, so don’t waste any time thinking about books that you ‘should’ be reading, read books that you ‘want’ to read! Trust me, you’ll be a lot happier that way.

Do you read any YA and/or children’s fiction? What’s your favourite YA/children’s novel/series?

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6 thoughts on “Young Adult and Children’s Fiction. Yay or Nay?

  1. Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy is my absolute favourite. I read all three a year ago, and I think that because I read them when I was a tad older I appreciated the Paradise Lost links a lot more. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that the Book of Dust is published soon!

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    1. Noticing all the references and intertextuality is one of the best things about reading YA/children’s fiction as an adult. I re-read “His Dark Materials” a few years ago too and I noticed all the biblical references that I didn’t ‘get’ when I read them the first time. The same happened for “A Series of Unfortunate Events”. I read them all again last year and realised that there are lots of references (especially literary ones) that I didn’t pick up when I first read them as a child. Because of that, I think I enjoyed them more as an adult than I did when I first read them years ago!

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  2. “Harris and Me” or any other Gary Paulsen books and Jerry Spinelli’s”Maniac Magee”. I’m with you on “The Giver” as well. And one of my other favorites is Sharon Creech’s “Walk Two Moons.” I like the post. There are no age limits on good stories.

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