July 12, 2013

YA Tunnel Vision: Pro, Con or Other?

Fact: I don't like coffee. I just like saying Coffee Clutch in my best and deepest New York accent. Considering I'm a New Yorker, I'm pretty freaking good at it. So I've got my tea and I hope you have your heated beverage of choice, because it's time to gab the day away.

As some of you may or may not know, I've spent the last 6 weeks doing a summer program - The NYU Summer Publishing Institute summer program, to be exact. While I probably should/will write a review of said program, this post is not that review. Although, if you want to know more about that RIGHT NOW, please feel free to email me, or watch last week's Stacking the Shelves vlog where I speak to some of the awesomeness of the program.

So if this post isn't a review of the program, what IS this post about? Well, it's about my YA tunnel vision.

Let's be real. I was never a big Adult Fiction reader. Okay, I had my "I'm going to try to be literary/an adult" phase towards the end of High School and the beginning of College. I would pick up books that took me far too long to finish/left me far too confused at the end. Then I'd occasionally sneak a Nicholas Sparks book when my heart was like "BRAIN, STOP RUINING EVERYTHING LET THIS GIRL READ ABOUT SOME KISSING AND FLUFF." But it wasn't a happy situation. Especially when I also had to read similarly long/confusing books for school.

At a certain point in all of this (probably junior year of college?) I returned to my rabid YA reading roots (that I'd originally cultivated in like 4th grade). I can't even begin to tell all of you how happy this made me. I honestly felt like I'd come home and LIFE WAS GOOD.

You tell 'em boys.
Only, since I crawled back into my YA cave, I haven't left it. Not once. Yeah. That's the big news of the week. I haven't read any Adult Fiction since LAST summer, probably, and the Adult Fiction in question (that I can think of, at least) is Soulless by Gail Carriger. Which is slightly steamy Steampunk. Like, my friend read the back of the book and she was like "What the HELL are you reading, Gaby?" So. Not super literary or anything like that.

I think I'm mostly okay with this, but then I think about to this summer program I just did and the job I'm not looking to get and I wonder if just knowing everything about YA is enough. Obviously I can't know everything about everything bookish, but should I know more about fiction than the super big names? Obviously skimming the NYTimes Bestseller List is something I should add to my weekly list of things to do, but am I supposed to be reading this book?

I scratch my head often when confused. Just not with a knife.
And then, when I start thinking about it terms of my summer program/jobs, I feel like I become a little unsteady with my being "mostly okay" with only reading YA in general. Am I doing myself a giant disservice by staying in this YA bubble I've created for myself? I mean, there aren't even any adult books on my radar right now. Except maybe that new Lauren Graham book. Because. I mean. Lorelai Gilmore wrote a book. Is there something I should be reading RIGHT THIS FREAKING SECOND that's not a YA book and possibly even a little more literary? 

Considering what I mentioned about being out of the Adult Fiction Loop, I'm really gonna need your help with that last one.

What you think about all of this? Are you a reader of YA and YA alone? Or do you read other stuff too? How do you KNOW about this other stuff? Help. Me. Please.


  1. I read a LOT of YA but I do still read Adult books too but just not as often and I often stick to my favourite authors when I do so!

    I would encourage you to read any/all Cecila Ahern & some of Jodi Picoult (especially My Sister's Keeper) as these are incredible authors!
    But I also read some adult books for review from indie authors and found them quite good. I think it just depends on what adult books they are!

    As for knowing WHAT to read... I work on the new book team at the library... <3

    1. NEW BOOK TEAM? THAT IS FANCY, FAYE! Also, I'm not big on Jodi Picoult. I'm very, VERY picky with my sad-ending books. I also know how that book ends. So there's that too.

      I guess I should do SOME adult book research. It can't hurt. MAYBE THERE ARE GOOD ADULT BOOKS OUT THERE. Maybe.

  2. I mostly read YA as well. Or aside from my adult historical romance books. They're definitely adult. But that sorta counts as tunnel vision as well right? I don't often branch out into adult books beyond that. And when I do, it's usually either big names or authors I've loved before. I guess the plots for YA books just sound more exciting to me :)

    1. Mmmm big names are totally relevant. But yeah, YA is so much more exciting for me TOO. I just feel like teens are more accessible? And have more common problems to overcome. A lot of adult fiction is very niche. Or hard for me to wrap my head around as a 23 year old. Possibly.

  3. I have thoughts. I hope you're ready. I apologize in advance.

    I would like to think I don't discriminate against adult fiction. I read it when I want to, and I thoroughly enjoyed a few the past year alone [cue up the raves for ME BEFORE YOU, Tell the Wolves I'm Home, Gone Girl, Reconstructing Amelia]

    HOWEVER. You like what you like. But PERHAPS you should try and stroll on over the the noteworthy paperbacks table and see if anything looks good to you ONCE IN A WHILE. Not often, just... when this thought hits you, GO! and then text me of course ;)

    PLUS- Tell the Wolves I'm Home was told from a 14 y/o POV, which made it almost kinda like YA ;) And it was great. More than great. Am I preaching enough yet? SLIGHT PLUG: it just came out in paperback ;)

    Back to the topic, Cassie! ::slaps self:: Gaby, you enjoy YA, there's no problem with that! But don't be hatin' on the adult fiction thinkin' its all the same at the popular table and there isn't that ONE over there that may strike your literary fancy! I bet you there is!

    SO, what's my point? NO SHAME GIRL. If you don't like anything, you just don't! Who cares!? PSHHH. You can always run to me or Estelle to find out some good adult books/authors/etc and we'll guide you and even make you look like an adult fiction wiz ;)


    1. MMMMM Noteworthy paperbacks table. Yes. Yes I do think in terms of BN. ;-)

      I've actually HAD my eye on Tell the Wolves I'm Home. But I think part of my problem is sometimes I'm straight up turned off a book if it's not YA. It's like an instinctual reflex. And I have no idea how I developed it. Maybe I'm just really blog oriented and my blog right now is only YA? But I guess if I made my brain okay with the idea of adult fiction reviews as well it could work?

      Also, THANKS FOR THE LONG ASS COMMENT. And for offering recommendation help. I always need that, to be sure.

  4. I jumped right into Sidney Sheldon after my Sweet Valley/Sweet Dreams phase (which came before the Harry Potter phase) so yeah, I was reading adult way before I was supposed to. And it was mostly because I couldn't find good YA in the city I live so yeah, I read a lot of adult books in my teenage years. You name it, I've probably read it all from Sophie Kinsella to Jennifer Crusie to Cecelia Ahern to Rachel Gibson Gibson. (That's too much romance books ! o_O)

    Then I found out about Simone Elkeles in 2010 and joined Goodreads in 2011 as well as started blogging and my life became all about YA and I was like 'ASDFGHJKL! Missed out on so many awesome books!'

    Anyway, the last adult book I read (after like a year...) was Gone Girl back in April. I liked it. But. I've already read so much of adult books that I don't really want to read them all that much. I mean I like adult books but I want YA more.

  5. I'm totally out of the adult loop by now. I actually started my blog with a mystery/chick lit focus and then I was like "Wait. YA? People are reading YA? ANd it's AWESOME?" So I tried a few big YA books and I was totally hooked.
    I still have SHELVES AND SHELVES of cozy mysteries on my shelf. UMMMM. I maybe read one a year haha. There are too many awesome YA books that I'm totally craving and enjoy and there are just sooooo many. To be honest, I haven't felt the attraction to many adult books ever since. I do still enjoy the mysteries every once in a while because I like the mystery! Adult contemporary/chick lit? Not so much at all anymore. I got tired of the protagonist worrying about weight or marriage or infidelity (EW. I hate reading books that are pro-cheating) and I just love reading all of the first loves and things like that in YA.
    I am proud to say I have YA Tunnel Vision! :)

    1. RIGHT? ALL OF THE AWESOME, SHINY, PETTABLE YA BOOKS RUIN EVERYTHING. (In the best way possible, of course.)

      Also, YEAH. I freaking hatehatehate cheating books. Sometimes there are YA ones and I'm like NOPE SEE YOU LATER. And I don't mind weight books, I just feel like they're done BETTER in YA. Like, they're less DEPRESSING and more stunning awesome. (Most of the time, of course. There are exceptions to every rule.)

      I guess I also have a couple of adult fiction books on my shelves. They're mostly books I've already read, like Water for Elephants. I actually just culled my shelves and donated a bunch of adult books I know I'm not going to read. It's just HARD for me to care about the non-YA stuff. WHICH YOU AMAZINGLY CLEARLY UNDERSTAND ^_^

  6. I don't even think about this. I don't care what I read, as long as I enjoy what I read. I don't care that I haven't read many classics or that I read books that aren't meant for my age (although I hate to label, I think YA are fit for everyone) I just like to read most YA and sometimes an adult book. It works for me and if someone judge me, let them.

    I don't think this is a tunnel vision, because I read so many things. I branch out to different genres and it's not that I don't want to read Adult books - I just prefer YA now :) That is having a preference and knowing your own taste :D


    1. For me this is less of a being judged issue and more of a "WHAT IF I AM MISSING OUT" issue. Basically, FOMO. Which is terrible. Honestly.

      And totally. Know your taste. So important!!!

  7. Well, I'm not really sure if I can help, given that I don't work in publishing, so I have no idea about that. Also, I'm one of those people who came to YA in college, and only read a few as an actual teen. So, there's that. There wasn't much good YA when I was a teen (you're young, and they gave you books - In MY day, Lurlene McDaniel was the big name and NO.)

    Anyway, as you probably know, I read adult, YA, middle grade, graphic novels, whatever I want. Personally, I really like reading a bit of everything. Sure, YA is my favorite right now, but it's nice to take a break from it and read an adult novel or a cute middle grade from time to time. It keeps me from burning out on one age group.

    Expanding can't hurt you, but don't force it. If the adult titles you're seeing really don't interest you, don't read them. Unless you need to for your career. That's something else. But if it's just for fun, do what you want.

    1. It's funny that you mention burning out on one age group. I mostly worry about burning out on one genre. The idea of burning out on one age group is so large for me to grapple with because there's so much awesome, diverse stuff in YA!! But I guess I could see it happening.

      And yeah, I totally hear and agree with expanding only if I want to. And the truth is, I've been talking to a lot of people about it and I feel like, since I can wait for the right job in YA, I should wait for the right job in YA. Taking something I'm not passionate about is bad for me and for whoever I (hopefully) end up with for.

  8. I haven't read anything other than YA for the past six months too. I just feel like, I should read something that makes me happy and interested rather than something I'm not really enjoying but forced to read because it's a classic. In your case, however, it's a little tricky, I know. You're applying for a job in publishing (I think?) so maybe that would entitle broadening the genres you read. Which is kinda tough. I'm the type of person who sticks to what they've known and liked, but I hope you find other genres and adult books you like :)

    1. I'm not sure I NEED to read things other than YA. I just sometimes feel like I do. But I'm glad YOU know yourself and know what you want to read. ^_^

  9. I've had YA tunnel vision for the last two years. I think since I started blogging in 2011 I've read...one or two adult books? I read several right in a row when I was first blogging but by summer 2011 I was reading exclusively YA titles. And for awhile, it was great. It was AWESOME.

    But now I'm burning out, slowly. I'm still hella excited about most YA titles I read, and especially about some upcoming sequels. But more and more I CRAVE adult books. I miss my adult fantasy, women's fic, and paranormal romance.

    I have GOT to find a way to balance my love of YA with rediscovering my love of adult fiction. Someday. SIGH. So I feel this post, Gaby. I do. *hug*

    With the caveat that I'm a bit out of the loop in adult as well, I'm happy to give you recs if you want!


  10. I've always been a reader who enjoys a bit of variety, hence me having a few adult and romance titles on the reading list. While I don't read as much of it as I used to, I still try to take a break from YA to check other stuff out every now and then! It's refreshing and different and just a whole lot of fun.

  11. I am all for reading whatever I like. If that happens to be YA, so be it. If that happens to be a trashy romance novel, I'm cool with it. If I pick up the latest NY Times best seller, whatever; I'm down for that. I think it's when we automatically poo-poo a book because of what genre it is do we hurt ourselves. It's not bad to peruse other aisles at the bookstore; who knows? You may find something that stands out! Or, if you're not sure about it, look at your favorite writers. Maybe they've written an adult book. I think that's a good way to branch out, but still hold onto your comfort genre. Something I'm wanting to do is to think about books/subjects/genres I like and start looking for adult books that fit the bill. Somehow I always think adult books are about things I so don't like - relationship drama, cheating, parent drama - and so I get turned off by it. But, I also know there are some pretty fabulous fantasy, paranormal, etc. adult books out there that I just KNOW I would love!

    So keep on doing what you're doing. Read what you love - maybe instead of looking at age demographics (YA vs Adult) look at genres (contemp., fantasy, paranormal, mystery) and find books that fit your interests, regardless of age!

  12. OMG... kick me in the freaking face. My comment got eaten. Basically I said:


    That about covers it.
    F the troll that ate my comment.
    Make me cookies.

  13. See, I only read YA. ONLY. Well, I think I've read an adult book here and there, but YA is my love. I read books because I enjoy reading and don't want to read books that make me fall asleep after ten pages. So. However, when I talk to fellow students or professors or anyone else, I have a feeling they think it's childish which makes ME feel insecure. Which is stupid, because who cares what I read, right? But it still does that to me. The thing is though, adult fiction is usually so looong and focuses only on problems I don't care about or want to escape from. And stuff. Gah, I'm really undecided about this topic, but I think reading things from different age categories is a good thing, as long as you still enjoy it. We should try adult books together and NOT fall asleep, y/y?


Hey there! Thanks so much for stopping by my blog. I would love to hear your thoughts, so please leave a comment. Also, if you have a blog, be sure to leave a link so I can go check it out!