Awhile back, I had filmed a BookTube video on this subject. Unfortunately, my internet/computer did not allow me to ever post it. While reading my last post “Booktuber” Shout Outs, this topic came up. So, I wanted to give it another…more public…attempt.
This topic is about YA or Middle Grade books and who “should” or “shouldn’t” be reading them. Basically, it’s about people’s perceptions and my struggle with it.
This topic first came to my attention when I was in college and discovered this VERY popular book series named “Harry Potter.” I had seen many displays in bookstores for this book, but when I looked into it I discovered it was for “kids.” So, I didn’t give it another thought. Until, somehow (and I don’t quite remember how) it was brought to my attention that Harry Potter WASN’T just for kids! Parents were reading these books to their kids at night and falling madly in love with it! Plenty of adults were reading Harry Potter! So, I went out and snatched up The Sorcerer’s Stone!
I gobbled that book up! I went out and got the entire series! It came even before studying! I couldn’t get enough. Yet, I will admit (please don’t judge me) but I took the paper covers off the books when reading in my college common area. What if people saw I was reading a “kids” book and made a nasty comment? Or just made comments behind my back? I’m a very, very sensitive person and this bothered me. I still viewed Harry as a “kids” book myself and what if I was judged for it. Foolish, right?
I think after college it was even harder. I love fantasy worlds/stories. I love fairytales and Disney movies! I love video games with crazy worlds and even crazier characters. This all led me straight to YA and a little Middle Grade. Yet, I shied away. None of my other friends read those books. I would get a “huh” when telling them the title of a book. As though, I shouldn’t be reading that kind of book. I should be reading something more mature (late 20s at the time). So I did.
I snuck in Fablehaven by Brandon Mull. I actually intended to give it to a younger family member as a Christmas gift. I wanted to make sure it was appropriate, so I read it first. I LOVED it. I asked my dad (who was in Barnes & Noble) to grab me the box set. He said, “You know that was in the kids section, right? Ok!” I still felt judged! He didn’t mean anything by it, but he didn’t understand why I wanted “kids” books. (Same thing with Percy Jackson!)
I don’t think that everyone out there understands that YA and Middle Grade can be for anyone. My friend told me that a book was YA and that’s for her daughter. She doesn’t read those kinds of books. She was implying that they are all about teen storylines and not relatable to adults. It made me feel juvenile for liking them. I felt embarrassed. I think that some storylines DO transcend age ranges. I wanna know your thoughts!!
I didn’t learn to except and embrace my love of YA/Middle Grade until Booktube. People like Sam from ThoughtsOnTomes and Connor from Connor O’Brien really made me see that everyone can read any genre they please. Booktube made me feel welcome and free to express my thoughts. Here, in this world, everyone is so accepting. Everyone reads a variety of genres and no one judges you for it.
Has anyone else ever experienced this same feeling? Has anyone ever looked at you funny for holding/reading a “kids” book? I’m very curious. Maybe it’s just me and my little world. Please leave your thoughts and remember to be kind. It’s a hard topic to share.