This has always been a big conversation within the YA community, and I’ve made twitter threads on it whenever it has come back up. I figured it was time that I put all of my thoughts into one post, coherently.
For those of you unaware, I’m 17 years old, still a few months off from 18. And, it’s really interesting seeing the disparity between the amount of teens in the community, and the amount of adults.
Now, before I start, I want to say that I won’t be linking anyone/thing. This is all my opinions, all of my thoughts on the subject. You have a problem, bring it to me.
I first ran into the YA community while I was still running a small fandom blog on tumblr. I followed them because I loved books, but never joined because I thought it was too much work. It never occurred to me then, that of all of the bloggers I was following, only one of them was a teenager. Most bloggers were in their mid to late 20s, some of them even older, and for some reason it never occurred to me that it was odd. They would hold discussions, of which I was just sit back and take all as fact (because I was young, and impressionable), on things like tropes and personalities, and the “best books”. I wasted more than enough money buying popular books that I ended up hating because more than one of those bloggers said these books are amazing.
I’ve learned a bit more since then. I was 14-15 then, and now I’m more involved, I’m on twitter instead of tumblr, but there really isn’t much difference between the interactions here and there. In between that time, I’ve come out as ace, and non-binary, and started being more involved in diversity. And, as much as I don’t want to say it, a lot of people act as if diversity is that new popular book that just everyone has to read. Now, I’m not saying that everyone involved in diversity advocacy is acting that way. No, not at all. Those of you who really do care are people that I really care about, and very much appreciate and thank. It’s the other people who see diversity as a straight shot to popularity and ARCs that I have a problem with. And these people? Are never teens.
It’s almost like, wow, YA is a popular genre and a lot of people read it. But the people you never hear of are the teens. I’ve met some truly amazing teens, of which I’m jealous of because they’re doing all of this and they’re 14-15. They make organizations, they advocate diversity, they’re proudly out (online), and they’re not afraid to say their opinion. And yet, you have to dig to find these wonderful people because on the top, you only ever see adults. Adults, who have every right to read what they want, but also seem to forget that these books were meant for teens, first and foremost. Adults, who, while nice, also seem to ignore a teen’s opinion on a teen novel. Now, this isn’t saying that every single adult is like this. Its a select few that piss me the fuck off.
Don’t talk over teens.
Don’t ignore the younger teens.
Don’t claim that we don’t know shit because we’re teens are too young.
These books are for us.
You are welcome to read them.
Just don’t be a bitch and say they’re for you, and you alone.
Another thing I want to touch on, before I finish this post off, is that adults need to realize how influential they are. Like I said before, I wasted a lot of my money on books that I was reassured multiple times, by multiple people, would be life changing. Now, yes, it’s my fault for wasting my money like that, but I was a kid, and I had Adults (capitalized in my head) telling me it was worth it. So, of course, it was worth it.
Like I said multiple times in this post, this isn’t every adult. It’s also not a call-out to anyone, it’s just something I’ve had on my mind for a really long time. Since those days when I was on tumblr, wasting my money on every book an adult said was worth it.
Basically, I want this post to make people aware. Aware that teens are the target audience. Aware that teens shouldn’t be ignored. Aware that teens. fucking. matter.
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7 thoughts on “Adults in the YA Community”
Hello. Thank you for sharing this! I’m in my twenties and I want to write Young Adult fiction (either Contemporary or Fantasy). I continue to read YA because I want to understand the current YA book industry (what’s trending, what’s changed, what teens like now). Even though I graduated college, I feel like a “young adult” because I don’t have a job I barely pay my own bills at the moment…. but that doesn’t matter! I still have a responsibility to be conscientious. Unfortunately, I find most adult books to be BORING because they are slower-paced. YA has high stakes, swoon romance-y, and full of castles and queens. I’m actually bummed I’m not a teen anymore because YA has actually gotten better in the last decade. UGH.
That being said, please don’t stop being vocal. Lately, I’m trying harder to be careful how I review a YA book. There are things that my adult self may not like that a teenager will probably love and that’s the problem! SO many adults on social media are arguing over whether a book is bad/good, problematic/sensitive, bad writing/good writing but no one is asking teens what they feel. In fact, many adults throw the books in teenager’s faces and say, “Look! Look! This one is bad! Don’t read it!” and they get mad if you do. I see more adults fighting each other on Twitter than I do teens. Teens are more likely to have a peaceful discourse. Honestly, I’m ashamed of adults right now.
Your voice matter. (I’m sorry for writing so much when the point is to say less).
I completely agree with you. I’m an adult who can barely pay her bills as well (I don’t have a job). Most adult books are at such a slow pace that I read YA more often than not.
Ahh this was such a nice comment to find 😭 I was really worried about the reception of this, but just thank you! It means a lot knowing there are some that are willing to listen, and want to help.
Great post! I’ve been in the community since I was 14 and since so many were adults I felt like I was too young, and I never thought twice about the fact YA was meant for teen. It’s sad that nothing has changed in five/six years. Teens’ voices really need to be prioritised.
I’ve been aware of it since 13-14, but I didn’t start being active in it until I was 16. And yes, barely anything has changed. It’s really disappointing :/
Everything that you pointed out here is entirely true. And teenagers should definitely have more of a voice in the community that’s aimed towards them. — Great post!
Thank you!! 🧡
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