I am an adult blogging in a YA world. I am not an author; instead I am a voracious reader who has always preferred to read the exploits of teen protagonists. The catalyst for this post was an article about Twilight, Gayle Forman and the state of YA publishing. I was quoted as “one adult YA blogger” which completely contradicted their stance of informing the reader about YA being for all readers, no matter their age. The two other bloggers they quoted (or should I say, misquoted) had their names and ages listed, I on the other hand sounded like someone anonymous and somewhat dodgy.
The majority of the YA blogosphere are the core audience and I thought I would list some of the pitfalls of being YA fan/blogger when you are well into your twenties.
The “Teen” Area – Bookstores have their little teen enclave in their children’s area. Of course that is the first place that I walk determinedly to and plant myself as I scour the shelves until I find something to buy. I have yet to walk out of this area without buying something, which is ridiculous when you see the height of my TBR pile. However, if you are there too long and shrug off the assistance of an employee, then you get weird looks. Thank goodness I have my ‘I am an English teacher’ excuse or there might be more questions. Although none of this has stopped me from recommending books, rearranging displays and shoving books at teens in the area.
Bookstore Employees – Those that work in the “teen” area tend to know huge amounts about YA and are great value for a prolonged discussion of Evernight versus Twilight or alternatively, they know nothing. It’s the latter that I get increasingly annoyed with, especially when I order a book by a universally recognised author and I receive a blank look. I get that they aren’t librarians but seriously... they suck. (Couple that with a look asking why I need that book at my age and I am done.)
Explaining my blog – I think we’ve all experienced that glazed look that crosses the face of someone who a) has had to hear about your blog, an author or a book several thousands of times or b) makes that face that screams “you read kid’s books?”. The latter is a problem in YA – those that haven’t read a good YA book and assume that they are all kiddie-ish and are written by talentless hacks. I am turning this around by giving lots of friends some choice books and then watch them scamper back demanding more – interestingly Carolyn Mackler seems to be one heck of a lure for the uninitiated.
Language – There is nothing sadder than seeing an author (my own age or older) using the word ‘rents and expecting the use of that word to give them teen cred. It doesn’t. It also humiliates you in front of your peers (me).
The Romantic Lead – I have sadly realised that I haven’t grown out of many of the ideal romantic leads that I read as a teen. I still am wholeheartedly sympathetic to the guy with the unrequited crush. I also tend to gravitate towards the guys with the sharp tongue, abrasive posture and wicked sense of humour (this also explains why I liked Jess on Gilmore Girls) that tend to treat girls poorly. I suspect it is a universal condition.
Rapid Falling in Love Syndrome – It’s one of my pet peeves of the YA genre and it’s not an age specific complaint. I do feel that at my age I do expect more reasoning and work in a protagonist and romantic lead declaring their feelings for one another. I think I might get annoyed more quickly than my teen counterparts but this is probably speculation (as you guys are brilliant.) As a teen I would have easily accepted it but now I find myself asking WHY? Being hot doesn’t not equate to instantaneous declarations of everlasting love.
Parents – I find myself siding with parents in many situations which makes me feel so old. This usually occurs in novels where parents aren’t caricatures. This is the one facet of YA that makes me feel my age.
I am sure there are many more but I think I will stop fuelling my rant. Expect a list of positives to being an adult YA blogger in the next few days. I would love to hear what you guys think is the difference between teenage and adult bloggers and their reviews of books. Ideally I would like to think that we see the world the same way. But do we?