Falling Out of Love with YA

As I near the end of my teenage years, there’s a fear that keeps coming back to me. It might be an irrational fear, but also, it might be something very real. Something that changes who I am and what I love. And that fear is that I will fall out of love with YA.

You might think that it’s ridiculous to be scared of something like that. I mean, I love YA with all of my heart and it’s such a big part of who I am, but what if I wake up one day and suddenly that love for YA is gone? What if those stories become ones that I can no longer relate to? I’m scared that there’ll come a day when I don’t enjoy YA novels because I can’t connect with the characters, and that scares me. I know it won’t happen the day I turn 20, or maybe even in my late 20’s. But the fear that one day, YA won’t be enough for me, is something that keeps me up at night.

The scary thing is, I’ve already started to see it happen. I’ve reread some of the books that I enjoyed when I was thirteen or fourteen and they all seem so young to me now. So juvenile. Does that meant that my reading taste has changed, or that I’ve just read better books, or that I’m slowly falling out of love with YA? Sure, I do love middle-grade, but I feel like that love is different. It’s a different kind of love than I have for YA, because I see myself in so many of the YA characters I read about, whereas I see parts of who I used to be in the younger middle-grade characters. I relate to these characters in different ways, but I never want it to get to a point where I feel as though I can’t enjoy YA.

While there is no age limit on YA and everyone can enjoy it, that doesn’t mean everyone does. But as a smol child of 18, I don’t know what my reading life will be like when I’m 25, or even 30. I have friends in that age group who still love YA, but then again, I have friends who are of that age and only read adult fiction now. I don’t want to lose my passion for YA. Ever. And although I think back to all the books I’ve read and I think would be suitable for readers of all ages, is my opinion of the book tainted by the fact that the characters are my age? Would I feel the same if I were 30 and reading this book? Are the struggles and triumphs of the teen characters I read about truly universal?

Will I continue to love reading and writing YA for the rest of my life, or will there be a day when I fall out of love with YA? When will that day be, and how can I possibly prepare for it?

Let's Talk

Do you worry that you might fall out of love with YA? Do you read a lot of adult fiction? If you’re no longer a teenager, do you still feel the same about YA as you did when you were the same age as the characters you read about? Help put my mind at ease!

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47 thoughts on “Falling Out of Love with YA

  1. I completely get where you’re coming from. There are certain books that I’ve re-read in my twenties that seem a lot less wonderful now than a few years back. But I see this as a good thing. I think I’m unwilling to accept lesser quality stories nowadays, to skate over tropes and bad plot points because I’ve now read more widely. I’ve read some amazing YA as an adult, it’s just a matter of sifting through all the 3 star books around to find the truly wonderful ones, and I think I appreciate them a lot more for their strengths now than I probably would have in my teens.

    • You’re so right! I’ve read some great quality books, and some terrible, but I think it’s important to realise what makes a great story. And that comes with time and perspective! Thanks so much for reading my post 💖

  2. I’m 26 and I often am disappointed when I venture into YA, I can’t explain if it’s because I can’t relate to it that much of it’s just because I’m too much of a crime fan, but I think a well-written YA can convince anyone 🙂

  3. Keep in mind that when you were 13/14 YA was just a baby genre too. You don’t see much of the old favourites getting much love beyond nostalgia these days. It’s clear that you love a lot of the fresher YA, and that’s because we have the privilege of the genre growing with us. Nothing to fear, plenty to look forward to 💕

  4. I think a key point to this is that you shouldn’t only read YA. I don’t think it’s really falling out of love so much as you burned yourself out of the genre by reading so much of it that now you feel like you’ve read it all before and you can’t find new, interesting ideas to hold your attention. I definitely feel like this because I have lost interest for a lot of YA books but if you read other things as much as you read YA I don’t think it will be as bad as you think. You might just be picky about which books you read and find fewer gems you love.

  5. I think that it’s important to remember to read in general even if you don’t read YA. It keeps the brain active and makes you smarter while allowing you to venture into a whole other world. Many people, young and old, JUST DONT READ ANYMORE. It’s sad. 😥 That being said, even though reading is fundamental but that doesn’t mean that you always will reread the same books and love YA. Maybe those books are just old to you. Maybe it’s because they’re written kind of childishly (this happened with me and Hunger Games after a few years.) Or even more so than you remember. Or maybe you just need a new plot or writing style. Either way, all is not lost. There is still hope–you just have to find the book for you. After all, there are gems in every category. So just keep searching and you’ll find a YA novel that’s perfect for you. You must also remember that growing up is a part of life. You’ll find other books to entertain you. (P.S. Have you read the Mars Dyer series? It’s a good change of pace.)

  6. I am in my 20s and my love for YA is up and down and that is ok! Sometimes I am in the mood for it and sometimes I am not! These days I do more research before reading a YA book and only read ones that the majority of people seem to love. This has worked out well for me and allows me to appreciate and enjoy YA.

  7. This is something that troubled me for so long!
    And for a while, I think, it happened – I admit I am only turning 22 this year, but as a writer and reader, I certainly found myself heading straight for the adult section of the library sinse leaving high school. I abandoned my YA novel in favour of something I could write sex in.
    But I’ll tell you what, it was brief. Like the obsession of discovering a new genre / theme (lord knows when I discovered them, I read every single available vampire novel the library could offer me).
    Now, I am revisiting YA and enjoying it too. For me, what I want to read (and write) depends purely on what I’m seeking – and most of the time, the distinction is sex 😅. I’ll head for the adult section if I’m in need of something a lil more raunchy, but anything else… I dont care where it comes from, and I see little difference if the protag is 15 or 30.
    Sure, there are certainly some books in which I’ve out grown the themes and they are no longer the master pieces I once worshipped them as, but I think that’s just a natural evolution of my personal development in taste and persona. I still come across plenty of YA book (even if they tend to be aimed more 16-20 than 12-15) that I simply adore.
    I think it can be a choice whether or not to stop visiting the teen section, and I you keep going back you will likely find books you can still engage with.

    But, most importantly, I’ve learnt this is not something to fear.
    I didn’t even notice my gradual switch into the adult section and you probably won’t either.
    Reading, after all, is so loved because it speaks to us and its all about what experience and feeling we get out of books; whether they come from YA or adult isn’t important, so long as you’re enjoying what you read.

    • Totally agree. I read the Wrath and the Dawn recently because people recommended it, and I literally laughed at any sex scenes in it (if you could even call them that). I write YA too, and I’m always afraid that I’ll get burnt out on it as I get older, but most of the time I still enjoy it. I’m 22 and I read all the Percy Jackson books for the first time last year and loved them. 🙂

  8. I had this same hesitation and I think I what I was most concerned about was abandoning authors that I loved, but that doesn’t have to be the case. Also, I know the YA section of the bookstore like back of my hand and heading into other sections seems intimidating when you don’t know what you’re looking for. I’m 21 and althoughI still read YA, I’m more picky about what I read and won’t tolerate certain tropes and characterizations. In addition, I have also started to venture into other genres as well and have found that reading about people younger or older than me doesn’t affect the way I relate to them. So you don’t have complete abandon the genre, but I’d recommend getting familiar with other genres because your tastes do change (however gradual or sudden they may be).

  9. I’m 29 and a YA author. When I was in college I was trained to write literary fiction but I never enjoyed it as much as I enjoyed writing YA fantasy. Several years after college went by where I didn’t read much or write at all. When I found myself again, I was drawn back toward YA. Now it’s almost all I read. I think, in fantasy at least, the difference in YA and adult is less about character age than it is about CHARACTER. So many adult fantasies are plot and world driven which is great but that’s just not my jam. I enjoy stories about people, and that’s what YA provides. Also, there just aren’t as many women writing in adult fantasy and I connect with a female story more regardless of age. Most of my friends are in their late twenties and early thirties and they’re YA readers as well, so I guess what I’m saying is… I wouldn’t worry. And even if your tastes do change, you love reading so you’ll love whatever your tastes change to as much as you love YA! A reader is a reader 😉

  10. Awww I want to hug you right now!

    Here are my thoughts: I’m 27. Of the 65 books I’ve read this year, I feel like most of them are YA. Granted, I went through a phase (roughly age 20-23) where I wasn’t reading as much YA. BUT I came back: because YA as a genre is expanding, becoming more diverse. Because really good YA is relatable no matter your age. And because, as much as I hated high school, my teen years really made me who I am. And because, as a reviewer/blogger, I care about the books that get published for and marketed to teens, and I want to be as active as I can in that process.

    Ultimately, I think you should read what you want, what makes you happy and what makes you feel understood. I don’t think it’s inevitable that you’ll outgrow YA, but you make go through cycles of relating to it more depending on a bunch of different factors. I definitely don’t feel exactly the same about YA as I did ten years ago, but I don’t think I’ll ever reach a point when I don’t love it – even if that love is in the past tense at some point.

  11. I just turned 25 a few months ago and I would still say a majority of the novels I read are YA. But what I read in the genre has changed as I get older–as has the genre itself. When I was teenager, YA wasn’t like it is today. You didn’t have all the variety or the genre breakdowns like now. The emergence of New Adult as a genre has also impacted my reading.

    When I was a teenager, I used to read paranormal romances all the time but now I found myself getting bored with the genre and I gravitate towards fantasy stories instead (which has definitely expanded over the years). And I was never a fan of YA contemporaries but as I said before, the genre has evolved, so you aren’t getting the same stories you were 10 years ago and I’ve read more contemporaries this year than I ever did as a teen.

    I guess my point is that the genre has changed and your reading tastes will change but you will still find yourself drawn to the YA genre as a whole because there is so much out there to be excited about 🙂

  12. “A children’s story that can only be enjoyed by children is not a good children’s story in the slightest.”
    ― C.S. Lewis

    It’s not at all silly to be afraid of falling out of love with YA, and it will most definitely happen with some books as you get older and a bit of distance/perspective. But I’ve found that the good ones stay with you. The *really* good ones get better as you age too, and there’s always something new to be discovered in a re-reading.

  13. When I was a teenager YA novels didn’t exist! I’m a grandmother in my 50s, and I’ve never taken any notice of who a book is marketed to – teens, kids, men, women. If it appeals, I’ll read it. I was surprised a number of years ago when articles started appearing about adults reading YA novels; I couldn’t see what the fuss was about. There are many, many YA novels I love. Not all, of course, but there are differences in quality and in personal taste.
    I don’t know how your reading preferences will develop, but I advise anyone not to limit themselves. I find most people enjoy different styles of books if they are brave enough to try them, so don’t be afraid to branch out. But a good book is a good book, whatever its genre or category. You’re likely to find that you keep enjoying quality YA books well into your adult life – even when you’re a grandmother 🙂

  14. I actually rarely read YA when I was an actual teenager 😂 I didn’t start reading it until I was in my 20s. Maybe it’s because I’m a terrible adult but I’m able to relate to the characters in YA waaay more than I have been able to in the Adult Fiction I’ve read. Even though my age is used in NA a lot I have zero interest in ever reading that, haha. I think as long it is well-written with amazing plots and characters I’ll still continue to read YA no matter how old I get. It’s just always so much more imaginative and creative to me?

    • No way! But I can definitely see how you relate to the characters in YA more often – the issues they’re dealing with can be quite universal. I feel the same about NA! I completely agree – I think I’ll be reading YA for quite some time to come 💕

      • I mean it probably had a lot to do with the fact that I kinda spent my teen years doing nothing but rereading Harry Potter 😂 but I definitely feel like YA is where it’s at right now especially with how much the genre seems to be doing with diversity.

      • Haha fair enough! It’s a series worth rereading multiple times 😍 Absolutely! I’m so pleased that authors are recognising the need for more diversity and we’re seeing a lot more Own Voices novels 🙌🏼

  15. I think it really has to do with the writing quality. I read the first book of Twilight when it first came out and I was a freshmen in high school. I thought it was great, but by the time I got around to finishing the series (after graduation) I realized I hated the writing and the plot was too simple for me. The same can be said for others though, I’ve found a lot of great YA that has very great writing and some that even sometimes seem to go over my head. Even when your tastes change it’s still easy to find a YA that fits.

  16. I’m a 20 year old, so barely not a teenager anymore, and I DO still read mostly YA. One thing that has changed though is I am trying to branch out more into adult, but that doesn’t mean I still don’t love my YA stuff too!

    Yes, going back to an old series that you loved dearly can be tough, especially if it’s something you read 4 or 5 years ago. The thing is, even if the changes you went through are somehow related to age, you were a different person the first time you read that book(s). Honestly, I am probably a very different person than who I was 3 months ago. I have new experiences, new thoughts, new opinions and views on the world, etc.

    I do tend to gravitate more towards YA fantasy, or YA that deals with harder-hitting issues that I might not have wanted to read when I was younger. I feel like that’s just my maturity level coming out though, not my actual age. I have read some adult books that feel extremely geared toward a younger audience, and I have read adult books that I feel like speak to me and who I am. The same thing goes for YA I have read too, though.

    I feel as if the genres I read are more akin to what I am experiencing at the current time, what I’m wondering and thinking about. What feels important when I pick that book up in the first place. I was terrified of this thing too, but I am a 20 year old enjoying every kind of age-related genre.

    Also, if it provides any comfort, my grandma and my mother still read my YA books 🙂

  17. I’ve personally never been a big YA fan. I like some of the more diverse YA books, but mostly I don’t tend to read in that genre, especially contemporaries. So I’m not scared of falling out of love haha 😛
    I don’t think you need to be scared of it. There’s nothing wrong with your taste changing. If you start liking different books, so what? Just read what you feel like reading x

  18. For me, it’s because we’ve read some amazing books that can’t be compared to those books that we’ve read before. So, our taste kind of changes and we’re looking for something much greater than those amazing books and when we read those books from our childhood, we can now see what’s wrong with the story. First, the plot and maybe because it’s one of the first books that we’ve read, we think that it’s really good before but now, we don’t think like that anymore. Next is the characters, maybe before they were awesome to us but now, they were not anymore. Lastly is the writing style of the author, before it’s grabbing you but now, not anymore. 🙂

  19. YES. I worry all the time that I’m going to stop liking YA but I’m also nervous that I won’t like the adult books and then I won’t have anything to read.

  20. I think there’s a lot of value in reading MORE than just YA books. For me, reading a lot of YA books in a row gets kind of same-y and annoying – taking a break and reading something different allows me to appreciate YA books and what they have to offer (i.e. more diverse characters than adult fiction…) more.
    I think it’s ok to ‘grow out’ of YA too – just don’t waste time worrying about it and read whatever comes naturally to you!

  21. I reached the same stage as you just recently Sarah, and did a discussion post on it as well a little while back! It’s good to know I’m not the only one either 🙂 Though now I’ve started reading a lot more adult novels than I used to, I do still enjoy reading some YA as well. Branching out into other genres has made for some really interesting reads though and different perspectives which has been refreshing. I don’t think I’ll ever give up YA completely, it’s just now a matter of bringing in more variety to my reading habits. Great discussion, thanks for sharing!

    • Ooh, I’ll have to read your post! I’m glad I’m not the only one who’s felt like this. I definitely think I should start reading more widely, even though I’ll always have my passion for YA. Thanks for reading my post! 💜

  22. I relate to this post a lot. I started trying to read all the books on ‘100 books to read before you finish secondary school’ by the Times Educational Supplement (I would recommend this by the way!) to widen my reading but it means that every time I read a YA novel in between, I feel some are so ‘young’ and the storylines are so trivial, my biggest problem is how over emotional the characters are hahahaha. This won’t stop me having my absolute favourite YA books though, have you read the Anna and the French Kiss series? You would have to prise them from my hands with a wrench !

  23. I am a teen who recently discovered YA. I really love it because it actually covers so many subjects. I hate it when people refer to YA as “chick-lit” because it can never capture what a broad, relatable genre it is. I especially love queer YA because the age target for YA are kind of the years you become comfortable with who you are as far as sexual orientation. I hope I never fall out of love with YA.

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