Old Adults Can Read Young Adult Books, Too

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Old Adults Can Read Young Adult Books, Too

While I am not sure I can classify myself as an “old adult,” I am rounding the corner to 40 now. I’m a mom of four kids ranging from 12 to four; I’m a stay-at-home parent, freelance writer/editor, and cake baker.

And I am an avid reader, and a Young Adult (YA) book enthusiast.

YA books generally have main characters who are in the latter half of the teen years; older than that and the books lean more toward “new adult.” New adults are learning to be on their own in the world, while young adults are very much still in their family unit for the most part.

Why should this level of books appeal so widely to me, many years past my own young adult years? I think there are several good reasons.

  1. YA books let the reader remember the time of opportunity and choices. Not everything was set in stone for the future; when you are 16, the world seems wide open. This opens the reader to remembering why you made some of the choices you made, and may lead to wondering about new choices in your life now.
  2. You always remember your first love. So many YA books focus on first loves and relationships, may they be highly fantastical or truly down to the nitty-gritty, or even ending in the death of a character. Nevertheless, I think most of us can look back at those high school feelings and remember how intense they were and what relationships were like.
  3. YA helps you process emotions. Teen years are known for their high emotions. Somewhere along the line, maybe you and I have repressed some of our emotions a little bit to deal with “real life.” It’s nice to get in touch with those feelings, maybe shed some tears, and remember what place they play in our lives.
  4. YA is often short and page-turning. Because it is appealing to a teen audience, YA authors get to the point and usually deliver a shorter, plot-driven novel that you can tear through in a day (if your kids don’t insist on ridiculous things like eating dinner or being picked up from school).

It’s true that YA might not be for every reader, but it’s definitely a favorite category for me. Especially in spring and summer, when I might want something a little lighter to read outside or at the pool.

Here are some recent favorite YA picks.

Today Tonight Tomorrow by Rachel Lynn Solomon

TgodaRowan and Neil have competed for every honor throughout their high school career. They are bitter enemies…right? When they team up for a pre-graduation scavenger hunt, they find out they have more in common than they thought. My favorite part of this is Rowan finding her way to defending her love for romance novels and what they represent in her life.


Amelia Unabridged by Ashley Schumacher

Amelia had a great future, all planned out by her best friend. But when tragedy strikes, she finds herself searching out meaning by way of a coastal bookstore in Michigan and an author she idolizes. This is the bookstore dreams are made of, and it makes the best setting for the story that ensues.


The Extraordinaries by TJ Klune

You might know TJ Klune as the author of House in the Cerulean Sea, but I actually loved this YA fantasy novel even more. We’ll call this “fantasy lite,” as the only real difference from our world is that superheroes, called Extraordinaries, exist in this world. Nick wants nothing more than to meet (and possibly fall in love with) Shadow Star, an Extraordinary living in his own Nova City. Meanwhile, he’s just trying to survive high school after the death of his mother, with the help of three best friends and his police officer dad. When he becomes entangled in the world of the Extraordinaries, though, all is not as it seems. (Cue dramatic music.) TJ Klune is both hilarious and super insightful, and I can’t recommend the audio version of this book done by Michael Lesley enough. The sequel, Flash Fire, comes out this month.


A Cuban Girl’s Guide to Tea and Tomorrow by Laura Taylor Namey

Lila unexpectedly — and against her will — finds herself flown straight from her hometown of Miami to Winchester, England, after The Trifecta of events that changed her life. Newly graduated, Lila wants to do nothing more than go home and take over her family’s bakery. Once Lila meets Orion, a blond English tea-seller, things begin to change for both of them. What will happen when an oceans separates them for good?


I’ll Be the One by Lyla Lee

For her whole life, Skye has been told she is just wrong, because of her weight — most of all, from her tiny Korean mother. Through it all, though, Skye has insisted on dancing, and she knows she’s a good singer AND dancer. Behind her mom’s back, she tries out for a K-pop competition in Los Angeles, which might bring her friends and fame…or might lead to be fat-shamed on TV. You’ll root for Skye while learning a little about Korean culture throughout this fun story.

Are you a YA reader? And if so, what favorite would you love to recommend?

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I am a stay-at-home mom to four kids (ages 13, 11, 8, and 5) - as well as a freelance writer and editor. We live on campus at Baylor School, where my husband teaches. After living in Ohio, Indiana, and Virginia, Tennessee is home and has been for 17+ years. I do some freelance writing and editing when I am not chasing the preschooler, keeping my 8-year-old from climbing the curtains, listening to my 11-year-old talk about Minecraft, or buying way too much (SALE!) clothing for my 13-year-old daughter.