Time To Talk! Young Adult Fiction – or – Adult Fiction? Or Maybe Both?

Posted August 16, 2013 by Asheley in Uncategorized / 30 Comments

The coffee was especially delicious today, you guys.
In fact, I may just make another pot.
And drink out of this cup. 

A long time ago, I used to read pretty much all adult fiction. I’m talking about when I was younger, much younger. Young enough that I could’ve and probably should’ve been reading Young Adult. I’d go to the library and grab a ton of books by authors I loved and devour them. I felt like a big kid. I felt well-read. I felt proud of myself because I was awesome

Fast forward a few years…college, graduate from college, working a real job, paying bills, having adult friendships that come with the same set of problems that friendships did when I was younger, having responsibilities (ewww!), having kids, having family members getting sick and even, yes, dying….

You guys, being a grown-up is FOR REAL. 
And I kind of got tired of reading about FOR REAL things. 
Where’s the fun in that?

For a while, I went through times where I didn’t read very much, then I’d pick back up and read voraciously – and it would cycle like that, on and on…because I was choosing books about the same issues that I listed up above
That real life stuff. 

Anyone that knows me knows that I love to read to escape. 
I wasn’t able to escape anything when I was reading the same stuff I was living, ya know? It was curbing my enjoyment of books. 

Then I found Percy Jackson. 
He changed my life. 

Percy Jackson and the Olympians Series
by the man I wish was my cool uncle Rick Riordan
Where had books like this been hiding? I inhaled these books like a madwoman! In them I found a young boy battling all kinds of creatures and things along with his human and not-human friends, and it was all tangled up and mixed with mythology?? UM, YES, PLEASE! I love mythology! I love action and adventure! I read the entire series in just days as library loans – it was my very first time venturing into the Young Adult section, you guys. 
Call. It. Love.

From there, I went to Scott Westerfeld‘s books – nearly all of them (except the Leviathan and Succession Series, which I’m saving for a rainy day because I’m just that quirky – I love Westerfeld so very much). I read Westerfeld’s books back-to-back and in a hurry – the Uglies Series, the Midnighters Series, the Peeps Series, So Yesterday, and still didn’t feel “full” of YA. I needed more. So then I blew through the Cirque du Freak Series by Darren Shan and then the Twilight Saga by Stephanie Meyer and then that little-known series, haha, called The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

By that time, I’d forgotten the library even had another section. I was all up in the YA and middle-grade sections and barely even looked back. 


For a while, I felt a little bit weird about being so cozy with these books that were obviously intended for a target audience much younger than myself. But then I found myself really comfortable there. Why? Because in the YA section, I found books that I could escape in – I could pick them up and get lost so easily in some world that is different than my own. No bills, no day-to-day troubles or worries, no problems with anyone, none of that stuff. They were pretty much quick and easy and fun and just PERFECT for what I needed in my life at that time. 

For a couple of years, I almost exclusively read YA and middle-grade. 

And so many adults do that. And that’s perfectly okay. It really is.

However, there are a bunch of us YA-loving adults that also really love adult fiction.** 
  • Or maybe we’ve forgotten that we like adult fiction? 
  • Or perhaps we’re reading it and not talking about it and discussing it with other readers with as much excitement and enthusiasm as we do YA or NA or even middle-grade titles. 

Why is that, exactly? 

The truth is this
There is just as much wiggle room within Adult Fiction** as there is in Young Adult Fiction. There is absolutely something for everybody in the Adult Fiction genre/categories. You just have to be willing to look around and find something that appeals to you. 


Do you guys have a hard time finding adult fiction titles that appeal to you? That’s okay! There are a ton of YA book bloggers that also read adult fiction – many of us also feature adult fiction on our blogs. Some of us primarily feature adult fiction with only a little bit of YA! Don’t be afraid to ask for some titles. This community is always up for sharing some of our favorite recent reads, are we not? 
YES. WE ARE. I love it. 


One of my very favorite things EVER about Adult Fiction is the Alex Awards. Have you ever heard of this award? Seriously, have you? Wikipedia says this about the Alex Awards: 

The Alex Awards annually recognize “ten books written for adults that have special appeal to young adults….”

 Do you guys know those times when we ALL get a little burned-out on YA or when we just need to read something besides YA for our next read, but we don’t really know what to pick up? When I feel this way and don’t have a title in mind, I go to the Alex Awards FIRST. I can always find something from their winners and nominees lists that seem fun and interesting enough that I want to read it. I’ve read several off of the Alex lists since I began blogging and aim to keep reading Alex books. For me, they’re perfect because the have that crossover appeal that I always love. Find a list of winners HERE and HERE. You can also look HERE for the Goodreads list – just click to add the ones you’re interested in to your to-read shelves! SO EASY. 

I think many of you will be surprised by how awesome this award is and by how many of the titles that you already want to read have won it or been nominated. 

This is just a small representation of titles associated with the Alex Awards, friends. So many great ones to choose from. These are just some that I’ve read and loved.

Even if we aren’t reading books from the Alex Awards list, there are still a ton of adult fiction books out there that certainly are discussable and good enough for YA lovers. Get on Twitter for two seconds and you can have any number of titles…

I’m so glad that I started blogging about adult titles again…even if people aren’t really talking about them as much on my blog. In general, I think those of us that read these titles feel the same way. We WANT people to be reading the big kids books too – AND talking about them. So we keep reading them and highlighting them, hoping for the discussion to pick up. It might not ever be as heavy and as prolific as the YA world, but there is certainly room for the Adult Fiction love to grow and spread. 


**I’m talking about non-fiction here too, everyone. I don’t want to leave anyone out. 
And I read from the non-fiction section as well. 🙂


Do you read adult fiction titles as well as YA titles? Are your blogs mainly YA blogs (seems to be the most popular kind, I think) or do you feature adult fiction or other types of books as well? 

What keeps you from reviewing adult fiction titles if you don’t? I’m curious.  

Do you read adult fiction as much as you read young adult fiction? More? Less? When you go to the library, where do you go first? Honestly, what types of books are your favorites? If you see a blog that is primarily YA that also has adult fiction on it, do you skip over the adult fiction reviews? 
I’m curious. 



About Asheley

Asheley is a Southern girl. She loves Carolina blue skies, Ben & Jerry's ice cream, and NC craft beer. She loves all things history but prefers books over everything.

You can find her somewhere in North Carolina, daydreaming about the ocean.

Find Asheley on Litsy @intothehallofbooks!


30 responses to “Time To Talk! Young Adult Fiction – or – Adult Fiction? Or Maybe Both?

  1. I was actually looking for some adult fiction to get from the Library earlier today, so this is great timing for me! I think I usually read what appeals to me and YA and what I see/hear about. I read some adult fiction but I don't hear about as much of it, I guess. I have reviewed one adult fiction and I might review more when I read them. I read adult fiction reviews if the book looks interesting to me.

    I'm looking at the Alex Awards list and it has some that I've enjoyed and Tell the Wolves I'm Home which I absolutely loved. I didn't know about that list, so thanks!

    • I agree that I don't really hear as much about adult fiction. I usually have to ask my reading friends what they're reading in adult fic lately or look at the "what's new" section in my library. And I'm also just as picky with my adult fiction – maybe more – than with my YA.

      But yes, the Alex Awards are amazing. And the nominations list is just as great as the winners list. I encourage you to take a peek and see them all!

  2. I am personally a huge fan of adult fiction novels and tend to blog about mostly that, but I do read some YA stuff too. I have noticed that most other bloggers blog about YA books and I totally feel like the kid at the playground that doesn't like the game everyone else is playing. But maybe its just a trend that I am missing. Or everyone does read books like me but doesn't write about them.

    Even my book club is the same. Everyone is suggesting we read YA books and I'm over in my corner thinking "I really need to read Great Expectations".

    I'm glad there are people like me who jump around the library shaking it up.

    • You know, I think it may be a mixture of both – I think people are reading some adult fiction but not blogging it because they have "YA blogs" and also some just don't want to read the adult fiction books. Another thing is that in terms of getting books for review, I get way more for review that is YA than adult fiction, although I have to admit that I am starting to get more adult fiction than ever before since I finally started putting it up on my blog.

      I like a good mixture, personally. I don't like to be stuck in a rut!

  3. Woah, I LOVE some of the titles that have won the Alex Awards! It's the first time I'm hearing of it, though. I'm a teen, so I usually read primarily YA, but I've really been enjoying Adult Fiction lately, mostly Urban Fantasy and chick-lit, but I like that they cover adult problems along with some swoony romance and pleasant fun. A lot of my favorite steampunk books are adult too and I think adult characters can get away and do a lot more than YA characters can because of age, so I really love that too. I have a feeling I'll still be one of those YA-Loving-Adults when I grow up, though! 😉 Wonderful post, Asheley! 😀

    • Thanks Keertana! I've always had a soft spot for award winners – Newbery, Printz, Hugo, etc – but Alex Awards is my favorite because the titles are always FANTASTIC. Both the winners and the nominees. I can ALWAYS find something to read in those lists! Glad I can introduce you!

      I love urban fantasy too although I read less of it – I kind of keep it in my pocket and pull it out as a prize. I know that sounds weird but I love it so much that I feel like I'd ONLY read it if I let myself get too immersed in it.

  4. I personally don't read many Adult books, but that's just because I never have. At some point as a teen, I started reading YA books and just never looked back. Sure, I'll pick up an Adult book here or there, but lately that usually only ever happens if it's a YA/MG author I love (Patrick Ness, JK Rowling) or a hyped up book I want to check out for myself (Dan Brown's books). When I do read these Adult books though, I don't have a problem reviewing them on my site. I actually like when others do as well. Things can get repetitive in the YA book blogging world, so it's nice to see some diversity every once in a while.

    I've never heard of the Alex Awards, but I definitely need to check them out! It's a great idea for an award and I'm curious as to what titles have made the list!! Thanks for sharing 😀

    • I agree – I love seeing sites that will mix the reviews between adult and YA. I even have a couple of adult fiction-only sites that I refer to when I'm looking for something special. I just need a break from YA sometimes.

      PLEASE check into the Alex Awards – I have a feeling that you'd like at least some of the titles. Make sure to check the winners AND the nominees because there are SO MANY wonderful ones there. (:

  5. I tend to blog occasionally about adult titles that I think will appeal to YA's and not blog about the others. Why? I have no idea really. I guess because we started the blog as YA only I feel we should stick that way. Hmmm, might have to change that.

    Asheley, if you like quirky adult books try some early ones by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child, or James Rollins. They are what I refer to as 'slightly skewed'. You know that they could never happen, but … they sound really plausible. I love them.

    • I've seen Preston and Child titles all over the place lately and have been curious about them but I don't know that I've heard of James Rollins. Thanks for those recommendations! I'll have to check them out. I love a good rec from someone who reads a lot! Thanks so much!

  6. Interesting post. When I was in high school, I pretty much only read adult books. Why? Because teen books weren't a thing back then. I don't even think my library had a teen section. But ever since I went to library school, I've read from all parts of the library, like you said.

    However, I do read mostly YA and middle-grade, and sometimes I have a hard time getting into an adult book these days. Honestly, that doesn't bother me. Just because a book is aimed for teens, doesn't mean it's not a wonderful book.

    But I do like to switch things up, too. I throw in an adult book here and there.

    • I was the same as you when I was younger and I agree that the teen books just weren't a thing back then. I was rereading children's books that I loved and reading adult fiction books. But I do love them now, increasingly so – but I'm very selective, because I do love to read to escape, which is why I started reading YA/MG in the first place!

  7. I'm a YA reader just for the reason of escape. Or what I like to call "mindless reading", and it helped me get through my few years of university and upwards. Although, these days I prefer memoirs and biographies instead of adult fiction.
    – Krys

    • YA is fantastic for mindless reading. I do enjoy some of the heavier issues YA sometimes but I read it to escape too. But I find that I'm enjoying getting back into my adult fiction more and more or, rather, I'm sharing my thoughts on it with the world more and more on my blog. And YAY for memoirs and biographies. I don't read them often, but when I find one that am interested in, I tend to get pretty engrossed in them.

  8. We are twins – I'm convinced! The Alex Awards are my fave – I look forward to them every year! And I really enjoy both YA and Adult books – I really don't even differentiate anymore. If I read too much of one type of thing, I get burned out, so I'm happy that I'm comfortable in both sections of the library.

    Tanya Patrice

    • Sometimes I like to try and predict what will be an Alex winner/nominee! I know you're a bit award-winner-reader, and I love that about you. And I love that you read a broad spectrum of books. AND audiobooks. LOVE THAT.

    • It IS funny how that goes. I was thinking about that, which is how I ended up writing this discussion post to begin with! I'm exactly the same way, but I'm enjoying the adult books more and more as an adult, I'm just selective since I read to escape.

  9. OMG–there is so much I love about this topic. So. FREAKING. Much. You and I are so much alike, Ash. When I was like 10 I was reading The Thorn Birds. Who does that? Who reads THAT epic book at age 10?? Me, that's who. So yes, totally agree with reading adult books when I was younger. I also read young adult–though back then I think they were just called "kids" books–books like Judy Blume's and Beverly Cleary's and so on. But I also loved my Anne Rice. I loved my Fen Follet. I loved my Judith Krantz. I loved my Alice Hoffman.

    One of the great things about today is that there is a YA category–and yes, it is well loved by adults and young adults alike. I wish there had been more like that when I was growing up, but on the other hand those adult books I read made a great impression on me and definitely encouraged me as a reader.

    I'm like you, I have to mix it up. I didn't get back into reading until I stopped working and came home to raise my 2nd son. Then I discovered Twilight. Like you I was on a definite YA kick for a long, long time. But now I do find I burn out and need "grown-up" books too. You know lately I've been on that Lisa Kleypas kick:)

    And thank you for mentioning the Alex Awards again. I was aware of them but I never think to check them out when I'm looking for a new read!

    And yes to asking around the blogs for adult titles! So many of us branch out in our reading and like to mix it up–all you have to do is ask. I've gotten loads of reading ideas just from asking around on Twitter:)

    Such a fun post, Ash! I'm glad you wrote it. I LOVE that you read in ALL the sections of the library!

    • I want to read some Ken Follett! Actually I'd love to read his books with audiobook + print. But yes, I think we're very similar in how we've probably approached reading over the years – I'm thankful for how it has unfolded for me. And I'm happy with the place I am right now. I love that there is a ton of people out there that can recommend in any category or genre, and will be willing to discuss anytime. THAT'S basically all I want and need with reading – just to read the book and talk about it. If I fall in love with the story along the way, FABULOUS. The point of this was that where I used to read THIS or THAT, now I read ALL OF IT.

  10. LOVE this post, dear! I used to read adult, and then after I had kids I discovered YA and went CRAZY in the genre. It was fun and usually had happier endings, without as much heartbreak. BUT I'm starting to work in more adult titles. Like MARGOT which is such a delightful read. LOVE the Alex award. It's something that I hadn't heard of before you mentioned it, but I love in general, books that transcend genre. Stories that are good all the way around and unashamedly enjoyed by young and old. Great post!

    • Thank you! I remember seeing a few times a few 'adult' bloggers that were getting frustrated that people weren't really paying attention to their adult fiction reviews – so I was just curious about what people are reading and if they are like me. It sounds like a lot of us trended the same way, those of us that are about the same age or station in life. Adult, YA, now both. I love it, actually, the mixture.

  11. So many comments! Eek! You know my stance on this but I particularly enjoyed your "My name is Asheley and I read from all parts of the library" line. I wish more people would be so open minded.

    I had NO idea about the Alex Awards. Thanks for sharing and such a great discussion piece too.

  12. Oh, this is a great post – I'm exactly the same! I love fantasy and sci-fi the most, but I really read something from every genre (apart from romance and erotica), including both YA and adult fiction. Sometimes I feel a bit silly stood in the younger sections of the library, but ah well. Some of my favourite books are for younger audiences.
    The Alex Awards speak the truth – I've read several of those pictured there and loved them ALL.
    Plus it's nice to read something lighter every so often. I think if I read nothing but heavy, serious fiction, I wouldn't read anywhere near as much. Who wants to constantly read about a day-to-day life that could be yours, when you can read stories set in other worlds or universes instead? =)

  13. I read mostly YA but sometimes I get frustrated with love triangles and/or high school drama and just dive into an adult read (maybe a romance?) I do occasionally read and review adult books but I don't always know if my audience wants to read the review so since I read a ton of YA always anyway, I just post YA.

  14. I love this discussion, Asheley! And it's so relevant to what many bloggers experience, I'd imagine.
    I started reading YA when I was a preteen, continued throughout my teen years (splattered with adult reads as well). I read more adult novels during my college years (when I wasn't reading a book for class). I started reading YA much more often in the few months leading up to my decision to create my blog. I think one main reason my blog is more YA-oriented that adult-oriented is because there are so many more YA blogs out there – and so I get lots of my reading pile from reading those reviews. I haven't found any bloggers who read the type of adult fiction that I like.
    I do love the Alex Awards, however! I've read a number of books that happened to have been nominated for this award, although not due to that reason. I think looking through major awards is probably a good idea. And comparing with goodreads, of course. haha I found that I now ALWAYS have to check goodreads to see what the general consensus is on a book these days. 🙂
    But I appreciate both adult and YA fiction and I do think it's important to vary the types of books you read, at least every once in a while!

  15. Asheley, you did such a phenomenal job creating this discussion post. It's really made me reconsider what I read this days, since I used to have an easier time balancing my YA and adult reads. Obviously, based on my blog, I read both, though I'm primarily into YA. I try to feature both (via review), but I don't do it as well as other blogs like Hannah's or Magan + Estelle's. Still, I'm working on it! Hopefully, it will be a bit more balanced come the new year.

    But reading-wise, I do primarily tend towards YA. It's mostly because I love the stories that I get with YA fantasy (which is my go-to genre). But I have realized that I do enjoy more adult books from time to time (particularly romances), so I'm working on getting equal amounts of them into my reading diet.

    ALL PARTS OF THE LIBRARY." Can I have that made into a name tag or bookmark? Because dang woman! That line just says it all.

    I'm sure you already know my feelings on this topic, but you better believe I'm about to express them anyway.

    I LOVE BOOKS. I like physical books. I like ebooks. I like audiobooks. I like adult fiction. I like YA fiction. I even sometimes like to throw in some non-fiction because my reading life can always stand for a little shake up! In general, I just love to read. I love getting immersed in a story and I don't care what age it's geared to if it's something I get invested in.

    Like you, I read primarily adult fiction as a teen. I mean, I read Gone With the Wind in 7th grade. Who does that?! This girl. There were also a few teen books I liked, but I don't remember YA being I thing that I knew about. Fast forward to the last two years, and my books became wayyyy more skewed to young adult. I definitely credit blogging with that change. It's not that I feel I have to read YA to blog, but I do feel that I often find out about more YA titles and thus have those on my radar more in recent years. I have made a much more conscious effort this year to balance my reading because I just feel like it's better and more enjoyable for me. It helps keep me from getting burnt out and all that!

    I do think the difficult thing about blogging and trying to build a blog audience is that not a lot of readers hop around the library the way that I do. I mean, I'll even try genres and things that aren't my favorite if someone tells me it's good. That's how I started reading fantasy and now have read way more than I ever expected to! I also hear a lot of bloggers mention that they read adult books but don't blog about them. WHHYYYY?! That makes me so sad! I have a feeling it's because of stats and all that, which makes me sad. I want to introduce people who read my blog to new books that I've read and enjoyed – no matter what category they fall into! If that means I reach less people on those days, that's okay. I just like talking about the books I love 🙂

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