So today’s topic is Young Adult Fiction isn’t Literature.
This is going to be a bit different from normal because it is a topic that was being discussed on my course this semester as we were talking about literary canon and what makes something literature. Because it is something that actually happened to me, it reads more like a story than a rant but oh well.
I am also prefacing this with the statement that I love YA. It is incredible. In no other genre do you get the mix of things you get here, the cute romance, the drama, the intensity, the horror, the equality and the diversity. And I think it gets a bad reputation unjustly. If you’ve never picked up a YA. Just do it. Give it a go, because it’s only a book and if you hate it then at least you tried. But anyway, let’s get chatting…
The class started with a basic question: What is Literature? Easy to answer. I would have thought so. People came up with the generic answers; Stephen King, The Bronte Sisters, Jane Austin, J.K Rowling, etc.
Then they asked: What isn’t literature? I have never seen a room go so silent so suddenly. It took a while but eventually, people said something similar to the following: Cookbooks, manuals, comics/graphic novels and Young Adult Fiction.
At this point, I felt embarrassed. Like I should hide what I like to read because it is not the high literature everyone instantly thinks of when someone says the word book. Then I thought, why should I be embarrassed? I love YA, yes it’s not the most highbrow of genres but it covers some extremely important topics and discusses things that a lot of Adult Fiction is too afraid to even steer close to.
As we were a relatively small class the lecturer decided to go round every person and ask the name of their favourite book from the past year as it was right at the start of 2019. I was near the back so it took a while to get to me. And as they went around all varieties of people said very similar things. They all basically said someone from the high literature list if there was such a thing, but you get the idea. Then it got to me and I thought, it may be embarrassing, but I’m going to be honest:
“My favourite book from last year was A Young Adult Romance by Lauren Price,” I said it proudly and the teacher looked pleased with my honesty but the rest of my class looked disgusted and they were not subtle about their distaste. Some people literally scoffed. Like out loud. At me, because of what I liked to read. The lecturer picked up on this and decided to question it.
“What’s wrong with that?” She smiled.
“I often read YA in my spare time. Some of the most intriguing, dramatic and hard-hitting plot lines can be found in YA because teens these days go through hell.” (Yes, this is a direct quote because I recorded it)
At this point, everyone in the class suddenly started to own up to reading comics or YA or NA or basically anything that wasn’t the highbrow literature they thought they had to say. And I was so mad. People were lying about something they cared about and loved because they thought what they actually liked was inappropriate or not “real literature.” I googled it! The definition of literature is: books and writings published on a particular subject. That covers a hell of a lot of things. Including YA.
Yes, not all YA is well written, but the same can be said for every genre. I think you should be allowed to read whatever you want as long as you are not hurting anyone in the process. You do you. Read what you want to read and don’t be shy or embarrassed about what you love.
I know that turned very inspirational that the end but it’s true! (at least in my opinion) What do you guys think? I am really interested in what you have to say on this because it affects so many people not just in the YA reading community. Also, I want to hear any stories of yours if you have any because you just listened to a very long winded one of mine, so the least I can do is return the favour XD This kind of reminds me of a post which I reblogged last year by Perpetual Fangirl, which tackled a similar subject. But anyway, I hope you enjoyed this storytime/rant thing. See you tomorrow 🙂