Five Reasons Adults Should Read YA by Morgan Owen, author of The Girl With No Soul

When people ask me what my book is about, I don’t tell them it’s YA at first. I tell them it’s set in a world where the soul can be made visible, or it’s about a girl rebuilding her broken soul piece by piece. More often than not, they say “oh, that sounds interesting, I would read that,” because the fact that it’s appropriate for ages 12 and up isn’t so relevant.

Morgan Owen

People will tell you that YA has certain rules that must be followed, that they don’t appeal to adult readers because they rely on immature tropes and conventions. They are too nervous! So ugly ! And isn’t it silly that teenage girls single-handedly continue to change the world? (Someone calls Greta Thunberg, Marley Dias and Malala Yousafzai on the phone.)

YA is full of groundbreaking books: ageless classics with sophisticated, bloodthirsty scenes that look like any of their adult counterparts. The genre is a star factory, full of new voices and a bright future. YA also forces us to critically examine our society. This book in which your teenager is completely absorbed can tell you as much about yourself as it can tell you about him.

Please allow me five more reasons to convince you:

1. The protagonist will capture your attention immediately, whether it’s a witty line, a raw confession, or a wry observation of an imperfect society. The main characters of YA are not here to play. They came here to turn the tables and speak heartbreaking truths. They’re going to trick you into cheering them on from the first page, even though you really shouldn’t. They are angry, funny, vulnerable, and deeply bonded. Above all, they are brave, even when they are just surviving.

2. If you’re looking for books about being hunted by assassins, having a bomb in your head, coding your own boyfriend, piloting a giant mech, or hunting paper savage spirits, YA has what you need because that’s where all the great concept ideas cut their teeth. YA Books is committed to staying current, delivering the biggest and brightest new trends of tomorrow. Teenagers are voracious consumers of ideas and very demanding readers.

3. YA takes seriously portraying diverse characters, amplifying its own voices, and exploring complex political issues. Racism, sexism, climate change, war:

YA isn’t shy about asking tough questions. The stories of these teenage protagonists represent the fears and concerns of this generation and generations to come. Adults should read YA to understand what it means to come of age in the 2020s.

4. Most YA books have a search for identity or belonging at their heart. This is best realized during the formative years of adolescence, when the helplessness we feel inside is accompanied by a world that does not yet see us as fully autonomous. But this self-uncertainty and desire for acceptance is something that stays with us. Often in adult life, incidents of humiliation and injustice take us back to our teenage experiences, as this identity struggle has taken firm root there. YA is about a validation of our existence.

5. When adults embark on a romantic relationship, it’s often a dance of small steps, slow movements and long games. By the time we hit our thirties, many of us are weathered, world-weary, rough, and barnacle-clad. YA romance is more often upbeat and oblivious, with characters not yet fully numb and dulled by bad experiences. They feel intensely and freely. Indulgent and escapist, the ride-or-die vibes of YA romance are a far cry from the realism of modern adult cohabitation.

Lola R. McClure