The Debate: Should Adults Be Embarrassed To Read YA?

Jun 10, 2014

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When Ruth Graham published the Slate article “Against YA” there was an immediate push back. Here we’ve compiled some of our favorites for both sides of the debate.

Nay to YA

Against YA,” by Ruth Graham for Slate.

Here it is, the original article. It’s well-reasoned with a lot of good points, even if it’s getting billed with the uber-polarizing line, “you should be embarrassed to read YA.”  Many criticisms seem to skip straight to the part where Graham says adults shouldn't be reading YA, but there's more in here, so take a look.

Yay for YA

No, You Do Not Have To Be Ashamed Of Reading Young Adult Fiction,” by Alyssa Rosenberg for the Washington Post.

There are innumerable articles defending YA Fiction, many of which have been published in the days since Graham’s article came out. This one takes a look at the part of Graham’s article that most people have forgotten, where she says that adults are reading YA as a replacement for literature. As they point out in the article, this isn’t necessarily true, but even if it is, it isn’t the root problem for adult literacy in America.

The Adult Lessons of YA Fiction,” by Julie Beck for The Atlantic.

This article does a better job than most at not quoting Graham out of context and explaining how the value of reading YA as adult may depend on the changing definition of “adult.” It also discusses why many of the attributes of YA that Graham warns against are certainly true to the genre, but that doesn’t mean an adult can’t learn something from these books as well.

After brushing up on the debate, let us know what you think. You can comment here or on our Facebook page.

Here’s the full interview with Ruth Graham, discussing her article “Against YA,” which appeared on Slate.