What's the difference? Why should it matter?
I'm doing a little survey in my English class about this. Now, my viewpoint is already well known, and will be going up in my blog pretty soon, but before I give out my reason I want to see what people out there have to say, especially those that are parent's or have a conservative view of this.
I think there is a difference. One of the most obvious ones tends to be the age of the main characters themselves. I think they often deal with things that concern teenagers (or pre-teen) - young love, high school, teenage hormones, etc. Another determining factor is the content - you don't expect to find sex scenes, excessive language or violence. Most YA keep things PG-13. I'd be interested to know what other people think too.
I didn't spend that much time reading YA novels before I went to adult ones, mostly because it seemed to me that the content of YA novels and adult novels were similar (although YA tends to have teenage characters and a focus on coming-of-age), but the writing style and level of editing in YA novels often disappointed me. My little sister is taking an English course on YA novels, and was told that basically when writing YA novels you want to tone down the intricacy of language to a lower reading level, but that there aren't really any content restrictions.
I don't think it should matter whether one reads adult or YA novels, but I do think that books need to be well-written no matter what audience they target. YA aims to deal with a lot of different issues that teenagers face, and so I think there will necessarily be content that not all parents will appreciate. At the same time, it needs to be out there so that teens facing those situations have something to help them get through it.
So I'm pretty much breaking my own rule at this point, but I want to put out my opinion on this matter.
I was thirteen years old when I read my first adult novel, Jodi Picoult 19 MINUTES, and a month later I read a Jennifer Weiner GOOD IN BED. I have to say that I have read plenty of YA and adult books throughout my time, and honestly, besides the maturity of the characters and sometimes the plot line, I find no difference between the two. Frankly I think it's silly to put adult or YA labels on books, because when I shop for books I don't look at that. I've read every Dan Brown, Jodi Picoult, Jennifer Weiner, Kathleen E. Woodiwiss, and Johanna Lindsey book that's out there, and for me it's all the same.
Going into that I think that it's silly for people to say, "You can't read that because that's for adults." Yes, the content is different, but if anyone has been paying attention to what's on the YA bookshelves lately that range from eating disorders to cutters to rape to drug abuse to physical abuse to death, when you look at the adult market in the contempt area, you are basically looking at the same thing.
In my opinion I feel like in the 21st century too many parent's are cuddling their children. I know of a woman who will not let her twelve year old daughter read SPEAK or any Laurie Halse Anderson book or Ellen Hopkins book either, because the material is too strong. I am not a mother, I'm only eighteen, but I can tell you that I don't believe in too strong of content in books, because what authors write about these days are what you see everyday when you look outside. There is no reason to shelter your child from this material because all you are doing is leaving them naive to the world, because when they go off on their own, they will not be prepared.
Now, I'm not saying my parent's let me read these books because they wanted to educate me, in fact they could care less that I read those types of books, but now that I am away from my parent's and on my own I feel like I have a personal understanding of my world around me, and know the dangers that exist, say if I go to a college party or any party. I know the rules, because I've seen it and I've read it.
Whoever would like to disagree with me I would love for you to tell me why. Obviously keep this clean and don't call me stupid because we're all adults here, but I would like your view point.
I partly agree to you what you are saying. I started off with Sidney Sheldon at the age of 14 (how I got my hands on it is a long story!) and read lot more of Jodi, Dan Brown, Sidney Sheldon, etc before I reached my "adult" age. It did not affect me in any way except that when I would read a YA book, I would invariably find the language child-like. But then there were a lot many YA books that I enjoyed as well. I did not find much difference in both and had a good time.
However, now that I am older, I can understand where parents come from when they get worried with their teens reading Adult books. I believe if a healthy reading habit is encouraged from a younger age, then it should be a big problem to steer the teen in the right way.
Not a parent but am a teacher. I have always had a hard time getting into YA fiction. I find that YA is far too predicable (even when the author is trying to be unpredictable). I don't recall having read any YA fiction growing up and I have only read a few since, mainly when I have had literally nothing else to read. I prefer me a good David Mitchell or Salman Rushdie opus to anything supposedly geared to young adults.
I am of the opinion that whatever gets kids reading, whether it is YA or science fiction or romance novels, that's a good thing. Even bad books foster good habits and exploring a wide range of books fosters taste. Trying to control or guide a young person's reading will only lead to a dislike for reading later.