It was a fairly innocent day. I walked into the library to return a couple of books and to take out a few more. A standard day with nothing special. Maybe it was the blood of YA books as of late that they saw on my account combined with another set I intended to read. All I know is that I had a very nice conversation with a young trainee librarian that suggested a book club, a YA at heart book club. At heart, my mind exclaimed. It was outrageous, but entirely true. I’m not exactly the YA target audience at 24, but to say YA at heart made me feel extremely old. To those younger than me my age might seem old, but there are far less people telling me I’m old, than people getting upset when I say I’m old. No, I am very much still young, but I am outside of the target age bracket. Which leads to a problem, I connect more with a YA story than an adult story.
YA is known for it’s themes. A YA story is meant to elicit certain emotions and a relatable story. Yet, YA themes aren’t exclusive to a teen audience. That is hardly the case. If one coming to terms with their identity and who they are is exclusive to a teenager, I’ve gotten life entirely wrong. I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s the case for many teens. As a teenager, I knew exactly who I was, It’s only know that I’m in my mid 20s that I’m starting to question who it is that I am. Then there are adult stories that like to deal with families and children and what would be considered adult relationships. What I like to considered issues that are far above my head and still unrelatable to me.
YA to NA
A few years ago a wonderful little genre called New Adult began to pop up. New Adult also known as a genre that is almost specifiacally designed for my age bracket. Add in the fact that life has very much changed for people my age. Whereas only one life time ago, someone my age would be looking to settled down if they hadn’t already. Now, that is a different story as people my age often enter an extended state of childhood. A state in which we are paying bills and living on our own, but still frequently engaging in a lifestyle which could be considered juvenile. Yes, life is different for a 20 something and it shows. The NA trend is there to quell that, but unfortunately any genre other than romance or contemporary is nearly non-existent. Hopefully that will change.
YA at Heart
Which leads me to the insulting name. Yes, I love YA. They are stories with hope. They are often easy reads, more concerned with painting interesting characters and a compelling story than any other addition. Is it really so wrong to enjoy YA because I can still identify with the characters. Like I mentioned before, maybe this is because how we as a society are now. Someone my age from the 1940s would have entirely different priorities than I do now. At the moment, my biggest concerns are my pesky student loans, a handful of bills, and my always breaking car. When I’m not concerning myself with those things (98% of the month), I’m going out with friends, watching TV, playing video games. There are no pressing concerns in my life and there aren’t in many of my friends. And I get the feeling there are a lot of people out there like me. So why not identify with a YA protagonist struggling to find her place in the world, when that is what I am doing right now in my 20s.
That said a book club seems like a grown up thing to do. I mean that is what I see on TV all the time. A group of slightly superficial pretend friends that get together and talk about books. Sometimes they comfort each other and the superficiality fades. Every so often there is a cute guy that joins in and adds a different perspective. At least this is all what I’ve seen from TV and movies. While I’m hoping that I’ll be able to bypass the passive aggressive bullshit and just enjoy having a discussion about a book I will hopefully enjoy, there is still a part of me that wants to scream “What are you doing going to a book club!” It could be a disaster, it could be fabulous. I could make some friends, or realize that my semi-hermit lifestyle is in fact the correct choice. But going to book clubs are what adults do right? Here’s to a step toward thinking of myself as a grown-up rather than the weird limbo state I currently reside.
…Then again, maybe being a teen at heart isn’t such a bad thing.