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April 13, 2010

YA Haters*

*Title from Jackson Pearce's post on the subject

Ok, so I am going to rant today, I don't typically rant on this blog, but since this is relevant, and I see it all of the time I am going to.

So in my English class we are studying Fahrenheit 451 and my teacher started asking if society is no longer reading, and some of my classmates said that people don't really read very often. Well my teacher started going off and saying that people read now more than they did in the last 20 yrs or so. But most of what they read is junk. Now reading a magazine or something on the internet is not really "reading" so ok. But then he started saying how there had been an increase in sales from people who are 30 yrs old and up. So then I mentioned that in the last couple of decades there has been basically a whole new genre born in YA literature. And he like totally cut me off saying "yes but most of that cannot be considered reading ect." And really and truly it made me really, really mad. How people say that people who are reading Young Adult literature are not really reading. They are just trying to be entertained. Ok so I want to be entertained what's wrong with that! I am still reading! I can be entertained by the television and that's not reading so how are those the same thing!

Another comment he made was that the quality of Young Adult literature is not as good because the authors have to dumb down their writing and they cannot use their vocabularies in Young Adult novels. This really pissed me off because that is completely uncalled for. I am sorry but personally, I have a larger vocabulary than a lot of people older than me. And in case he hadn't noticed Teens really get mad when authors "dumb down" their books for us. We are acting members of society, we are not five year olds, we can think and we do not like to be treated like little children.

Basically what he did was tell me that, even though I consider myself an avid reader, nothing I am reading is worth looking at, and that I am basically wasting my time! He was bashing the whole YA community. One of the reasons that this made me so mad was because he is not the only one by a long shot. Hundreds of people believe that YA literature is not worth reading see Jackson Pearce's video on the subject. And I believe that as a high school English teacher he should understand that YA literature of today should not be totally dismissed and not even called reading, ok so not all of it will become literary classics but they are still books, and as long as I am reading, what does it really matter?

What do you think? Did I miss anything important? Have you ever encountered someone like this? Please let me know! Also sorry for ranting but I needed to hear from people who would understand. Thanks for reading/listening!


  1. Well I read a varity of different types of book and I love YA books. I am ahem, 34yrs old and I still like to read some YA books. I think it is stupid for a Teacher to be so discouraging to teens and tell them that even if they do read what they are reading isn't really important and considered reading. How on earth does he expect to interest teens in reading when he diss their genre. Yeah, its not all great but there are some really cool books out there and I beleive that YA books are finally on a rise, because I really don't remember as many YA books when I was a teen as they are now. OOOH teachers like that make me MAD!!

  2. It is really frustrating when people take that attitude about YA fiction that because of the audience it is somehow "inferior". I was an English major in college and some of my classmates had the same negative attitude that if a book wasn't a "classic" or a "modern classic" it was somehow trash (especially bestsellers-those are too common and couldn't possibly have any literary merit).

    There are plenty of excellent YA novels that are being published and more and more adults like myself are reading YA. I think it is great that teens are reading YA fiction and graphic novels. I hope that you continue to read lots of YA fiction regardless of what others might say and I hope you continue to share your opinions.

  3. By the way, my college English professor absolutely hated reading as a teen until someone gave him some comic books. Reading comic books is what caused him to love reading and now he is teaching future high school English teachers at a university!

  4. It's very odd that an English teacher would discourage a student from reading because he or she is reading an "immature" genre. After all, you are teenagers or young adults, the classics aren't for everyone. Besides there are some really good YA novels out there, many who have become cross-overs into adult fiction.

    Lastly, I was one of the few people I knew in high school who read for enjoyment, people thought I was weird. So because of that, I'm surprised he isn't encouraging reading for pleasure no matter the genre.

  5. OMG, that man has no buisness being a high school English teacher. e basically just called teens, his students, stupid. He is totally ignorant and has obviously never even tried reading a YA book. What about Thirteen Reasons Why, or Before I Fall, or Identical, etc? How can he say these books aren't worth reading. And yes, I hate when authors dumb down books which they don't normally do because THEY DON'T HAVE TO. This 'English teacher' of yours is a pompous jerk and needs to be taken down a knotch.

    Here's a vocabulary lesson for him:

    I think maybe he'll recognize those since they all strike me as words that describe his manner and personality.

    Thankfully, I've never had such a reaction to my reading YA; of course, I'm also homeschooled now. Besides I don't just read YA literature; I read a plethora of other varities of books from the classics to contemporary literature, from historical to dystopian and futuristic, from war novels to memoirs, and everything in between. Well, except cheap harlequin novels and really scary stuff.

    Thanks for this post and don't worry, sometimes you just need to release all that pent-up anger. I will be checking out Jackson's video, thanks for linking to it. :D


    P.S. Feel free to print this comment and give it to him with the finger. ;)

  6. I'm 26 years old and most of the reading I do is YA. Now I used to read when I was younger, but gave up on it when I became a teen and I'm not sure why. So now that I am actually reading again I don't think it matters what I'm reading as long as I'm doing it.
    I don't think your professor knows what he's talking about. Has he even read any of the YA books out right now? Probably not. An example of an impressive YA book out right now is The Sky is Everywhere. The writing is absolutely breathtaking. Futhermore, your professor should just be glad teens are doing something constructive with their spare time when they could be out doing drugs or things much worse.

  7. Excellent rant! I am an Adult (28) and I read more YA literature then Adult. Why do I do this? Because its excellent. There are a few YA novels out there that I feel are poorly written but for the most part the only difference I see in most YA books versus Adult novels is the sexual content. I think the "literary" world is rather snobbish and some parts of that community look down upon novels that concentrate on entertainment. Even within YA books that are very entertaining you still find engaging, strong, genuine characters that engage YA readers. Last time I checked J.K. Rowling and Stephanie Meyer are a heck of a lot more popular then many "acclaimed" authors. You don't see youth spending hours talking about Mr. Darcy like you do Edward & Jacob or showing up to a midnight selling of Shakespeare(like you did for Harry Potter) Reading should be encouraged shame on him.

  8. Thanks guys! I really appreciate hearing your opinions on the subject! And thanks for encouraging me to continue reading YA!

    Also Briana it was weird because just the day before he was talking about how when we get to college there are going to be elitists who are going to be looking down on us for being less than them. And now I am thinking, like you?

  9. Well I love YA books as well and I'm 25. Dumbed down, I don't think so. When was the last time your teacher picked up a YA book, I'm assuming never!
    Regardless of what genre the book is, it's reading.
    Rant/Vent all you like but I'm with you on this one. Teacher doesn't know what he's talking about.

  10. I have no idea how he considers YA not reading. Would he say that a child reading a children's book is a child not reading? That's not ignorance- what he is saying is plain idiocy.


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