Let’s Talk Bookish: Reading YA/Middle Grade as an Adult

Let’s Talk Bookish is a weekly meme hosted by Rukky @ Eternity Books and Dani @ Literary Lion. This week’s topic was suggested by Sam @ River Moose Books and is What Makes You Continue Picking Up YA/Middle Grade? Or Why Don’t You?

As adults some of us leave YA/Middle Grade behind and some of us continue to revel in it…but what separates us as readers? If you still pick up YA/Middle Grade, what draws you to them instead of Adult Fiction?

I am in the camp of someone in their 20s who still reads both young adult and middle grade. I think I still prefer to read them for multiple reasons. Although I read far more young adult than middle grade, I still find myself picking up middle grade from time to time. They’re often series that I loved as a child and want to go back to read more installments that have since been published or just to reread my favorites. I’m always amazed at how much development middle grade has, especially since they tend to be shorter books. I also don’t think books have an age limit. As long as you enjoy it, that’s all that matters!

Firstly, I think I’m drawn to young adult because I relate to the characters more. Although I’m old enough to live on my own, I’ve chosen to remain with my parents and sibling for the time being so I can’t relate to some of the struggles that adult fiction portrays such as dealing with relationship issues with a spouse, taking care of a family or raising a child, running a household, and so on. When I do read adult fiction, I tend to avoid contemporary novels because of the aforementioned themes and prefer to read historical fiction, fantasy, or cozy mysteries.

Secondly, I’m a sucker for the teen angst angle. I love struggles and conflict in books. I love the coming-of-age feel and the metamorphosis of becoming who you’re meant to be that young adult has. The adult fiction I’ve read often lacks this because they’re already settled into life and are more confident typically, even if we don’t always feel like this as actual adults ourselves.

Lastly, I think a large benefit to being into young adult is the community is huge. There are always people available to talk to about the book you’re reading. I know this is true for all book genres, but I feel like young adult readers are especially enthusiastic and happy to make connections with other readers. I really love the spirit of the YA/NA community and love being a part of it.


If you still read YA, what do you love about it? How do you feel about New Adult? Let me know in the comments and happy reading!

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8 thoughts on “Let’s Talk Bookish: Reading YA/Middle Grade as an Adult

  1. Ugh I’m nearly 20 and still a sucker for YA haha! Whenever I read something that involves marriages or ‘adult problems’ I panic, I don’t feel old enough for that yet! Like you’ve said as well the YA community is huge and there are so many good books in this category 🙂 I will be reading them for a while yet…

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes, exactly! There are far too many good books to jump to anything else for me yet too. 😊 I’ve read a few adult books here and there but I still feel most comfortable in YA/NA and doubt I’ll move anytime soon. 😊💕

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Lovely post! I’m very near “aging out” of the YA demographic, but I think I’ll stay with it for the reasons you mentioned––enthusiastic community, connecting with it as an adult still living with my family, the coming-of-age angle. For New Adult, I think the potential is there, but “upper YA” as a category has sort of filled that niche (some YA characters/plots read a bit old––there are lots of 16-year-olds fending for themselves in fantasy in a way that modern readers might associate with their early 20s, for example).

    I’ve also become a more extensive middle grade reader, which I feel I kind of skipped in jumping the boat to YA so early (I started in elementary school). A well-written children’s book always amazes me, because they’re working under so many constraints, and it’s a relief to come back to middle grade after a dense read––it’s written as accessibly as possible, and it can be a great way to get back into the rhythm of reading more regularly.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve read that NA doesn’t really exist in the professional world. Such as if you asked a librarian for a New Adult book, they wouldn’t really understand what you’re talking about. And, yes, I totally agree with how a lot of YA sometimes reads older. I’m surprised at times when reading when the voice of the characters feels like it matches me at my age compared to them being only 16/17. I suppose that’s been true for most media, I never felt like I was as mature as the counterparts I saw on TV/in movies but it’s an interesting change as YA has developed more recently.

      That’s exactly what I was trying to say about MG! It’s hard to put into words sometimes what I’m thinking. 😅 They’re sometimes even more developed than YA books and I really admire the simplicity of them while still being able to fit so much into the story. I have so many favorite MG books and series that I still enjoy going back to reread. 😊💕

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I guess I don’t really like the question phrased as reading MG and YA “instead of” adult fiction because I think many people read widely! (I know it’s just the prompt, though!) I read MG, YA, and adult books. Fiction and nonfiction. Picture books even. They all have different things that might be what we are looking for at a particular moment. Sometimes I want something fast-paced. That tends to be YA. Maybe I want something with a happy ending. That would be MG and usually YA, too. It all really depends!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I completely agree with what you said! I think one of the great things about reading is how many different genres there are and how you can expect certain things from certain genres such as guaranteed happy endings with MG like you mentioned. I don’t think any genre should become off-limits once you “age up” for lack of better words. I think there only becomes an issue when adults expect certain things from MG or YA which you would find in Adult novels, like super emotionally mature relationships etc. because they technically are geared toward a certain age group and the majority of readers won’t be able to relate to those things. 😊

      Like

      1. Yes, I do find it odd when adults are demanding adult-like characters in teen books. There are adult books for that! And, contrary to popular belief, many adult books actually do focus on young adults or characters in their 20s. It’s not like all adult books only have characters going through a mid-life crisis.

        Liked by 1 person

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