In Defense of Young Adult Novels

By Alejandro Chousal Sheridan Contributor

Yes, it’s true that when people think of young adult novels they usually think of “Twilight,” but not all YA novels are about a sad teenager falling in love with an edgy vampire. Still, YA novels are just part of growing up. Yes, they can be cringy and embarrassing in hindsight, but weren't we all like that growing up? At one point or another, we related to those characters and we needed that.

As someone who grew up reading probably a bit too much, I found solace in those books. I would see those characters and they would inspire me and transport me to a different place. I love YA novels even today because they remind me that no matter how awkward someone might seem they always rise up and find themselves and I think that is something everyone can relate to.

YA novels aren't for everyone, I get that. I know some folks don’t like YA novels because they think they’re all the same, that they all have the same formula. The teenage main character finds out they’re the chosen one and now they have to embark on a journey with their two best friends and they will struggle but ultimately prevail. Another misconception I have heard is that whenever there is an older sister in the story, she tends to be evil or something along those lines.

People also say it’s overdone and patriarchal when so many of the main characters are teenage boys. My friend wants to see more female supporting characters that don't end up falling in love with the main character or end up being evil. And I agree, female supporting characters are usually put in to make the main character more likeable. I would also like to see an independent female supporting character.

While many YA novels are about sad teenagers or a chosen one saving the world, there are just as many YA novels that relate to everyday people. And while they aren’t for everyone, I think that as teenagers we were all looking for somewhere to fit in or somewhere to feel important. I think YA novels gave us that.