I Feel too Old for Some Things in YA Books

I know we always say, “You’re never too old for young adult books!” And to a certain extent, I still believe that to be true. However, I feel like there are some things I might be too old for. I think it’s a combination of me being too old, and thus “so over it”, and just partly my personality.

Even when I was a young adult in high school, I was never a party girl. I was never a mean girl. I didn’t even really know any mean girls. I think I was pretty mature for my age, but my high school was also pretty civilized. So when I encounter those things in YA, I just roll my eyes.

Get Even by Gretchen McNeil

Drama & mean girls

I read about mean girls, bitches, backstabbers, queen bees, etc. and it just feels so exhausting. I want to smack those girls and get them to realize how freaking stupid they’re being. I can’t even bring myself to read about these things because I’m just so tired of it and fed up. How can people act like that? It’s NOT cool, it’s NOT fun. It’s just lame. And since I feel those things, I can’t enjoy those books at all.

Even in Paradise by Chelsey Philpot

Excessive partying

Then I read the books about partying. There are high school girls falling over drunk, puking outside windows late at night, drinking vodka the next morning, smoking cigarettes (ew), missing class to party, etc.

I’m not staying students shouldn’t party. But when I see them throwing up all over the place and falling over drunk, I again roll my eyes. Is this fun? Am I supposed to like reading about this? Maybe some people do like it—I don’t know. I was never a party girl and I’m still not. So when I read about partying, all I can think is, “Stupid kids…”

Even though I was never into that lifestyle, I still feel like I’m “so over it”. Maybe it’s just because I can’t relate at all.

What about you? Are there some things you feel too old for in YA? Or just some things you don’t like?

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46 comments

  1. My first YA was Twilight, which made me run to adult books. I like a good YA book, but they never hit me the same way as NA and adult books do. I do feel too old for YA quite often. Like you, the high school drama can get too much. I also hate that every MC girl is a virgin. It’s just not realistic. Why can’t we have an MC who has had sex safely and isn’t ashamed of it?

    Jennifer Bielman recently posted: Kindle & Nook Freebies #98
    1. Yeah sometimes I get sick of the “I’m so innocent and naive and I’m a virgin and the bad boy loves me” idea.

      But I absolutely LOVE a good adult book about a snarky, non-virgin, smart working woman. The Crossfire series comes to mind here. I remember just loving how smart and proud of her job she was. Loved that.

  2. That is why I don’t read contemporary YA or much of YA romance. The only YA I like are the paranormal/supernatural/suspense/horror types. On the norm there isn’t as much of what you mentioned above, not saying that some times it’s not there but just not as much. 🙂

    Stormi recently posted: Review of Illusions of Fate
  3. Oh yeah. I’m in my 30s and was also home schooled so I never went to a traditional HS. I have no interest in the whole HS drama storyline that’s in so many YA books, unless someone’s about to be eaten (seriously, Eat, Brains, Love is a great example of HS drama done right lol).

    I like YA but I’ve become very picky about what I read. I don’t usually like realistic YA/coming of age stories, because I’m way past that stage in my own life. I do like YA fantasy, dystopia, horror etc.

  4. I’m an adult and like you there are certain issues/subjects that are too juvenile for my taste. However there were instances that the author/story made it worked somehow, like instead of me eye-rolling because it’s too childish, there was this feeling of nostalgia and in the process made me smile. I guess, it depends on whether I can relate to it & how it was presented (at least on my case). 😀

    1. You’re absolutely right—sometimes it’s all about how the author presents it.

      Like, I mentioned above that I was sick of the “simple, plain, virgin girl attracts the bad boy” idea in books. It’s tiring. But every now and then I come across a book that uses that idea, but I LOVE it because the author made me love it somehow. Magic!

  5. I limit my YA book reading…until recently, I read none of them. The premises never sound interesting to me. Even when I was a teenager, I read adult books.

    I feel young inside, and have many interests younger than my years, but teenage foolishness is not one of them. I have teenage granddaughters who don’t behave that way, thankfully, and they don’t read YA books. I agree with your thoughts on this.

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  6. Oh, there are definitely some things I feel too old for. I’m so far past my teen years. For the most part, I love reading YA, and can totally get into the stories. But every once in a while, I struggle.

    Take Isla and the Happily Ever After. I don’t want to give spoilers, but there was this thing that happened that was very traumatic for Josh and Isla, and I didn’t think it was such a big deal. But I also feel like if I were a teen, I would have felt like they did.

    I’m never a fan of “mean girl” books. They just piss me off. Excessive partying isn’t something I like much either.

    Quinn @ Quinn's Book Nook recently posted: Review: Blood of My Blood by Barry Lyga
  7. To me, it feels like there are two kinds of YA books: the timeless ones (from “Little Princess” to “Harry Potter”) and the more commercial ones. The more commercial ones surf on trends (for instance, we’re all about romance and zombies these past years), they don’t age well and since they are closely bound to the culture in which they have been produced, they don’t move people from other countries/culture.
    My personal experience with “bad” YA novels is that they just say what teenagers would be pleased to hear, in an overly simplified English. It’s super cheesy and place the (young) hero above everyone else.
    A great YA book, on the other hand, is “just” a great novel. It teaches you something, makes you think, and/or moves you whatever your age. “A Monster Call” for instance, is an absolute masterpiece in my opinion.

    Angélique recently posted: The Trillionist by Ed Lukowich
  8. I relate to this a lot. There were a group of girls at my high school who could probably have been labeled “mean girls,” but of course they weren’t as stereotypical as if often portrayed in books. Plus, I tended to stay out of whatever drama they had, so it wasn’t a huge part of my high school experience. I’m usually pretty okay with them in books though since stories typically need a villain and all that. When it becomes a huge part of the story though, I usually don’t enjoy the book as much.

    It’s pretty much the same with partying. I never really partied in high school (or ever), and while I accept that it’s a part of other’s experiences and can have it’s place in the story, I’m just not interested in most stories where it plays a huge part. It’s just not something I’m interested in reading about for a lot of the same reasons that I was never interested in partaking in it.

  9. I have been thinking this myself for a long time. I love YA books, I buy more YA than anything else (something I wouldn’t have thought I would have said 3 years ago), and I still find the majority of them completely relatable.

    The mean girls thing intrigues me – I was the one the mean girls picked on in school (although looking back, I think it could have been my paranoid teenage brain in most part) and I do love seeing them get their just deserts.

    Partying hard in YA, not so much. I definitely didn’t do it as a teenager, and neither as an adult – it’s just too exhausting lol.

    What really gets my goat is the characters who are supposedly friends and then do horrible things to each other – it just makes me want to reach into the pages and shake them. And it’s always so glaringly obvious to me that it can really turn me off a book. Oh, and crushing on pretty but horrible boys – although that’s just a life lesson methinks 😉

    Great post, glad I’m not the only one that feels like this sometimes!

  10. Exactly right! I was also not a mean girl or a partier (in high school or in college) and when those subjects pop up in books it’s such a chore to read. I’ve never understood it and I don’t think I ever will. Reading YA I try my best to avoid those but sometimes they’re still there. The other thing in YA that makes me feel really old is when the characters have multiple dating relationships in the book. I know many people don’t find their one true love in high school and dating is the norm but I find it hard to relate to the characters. I married young and didn’t date much, maybe that’s why 😉

    Lillian @ Mom With a Reading Problem recently posted: Demon Bayou (Waves of Darkness, #2) by Tamara A. Lowery
  11. I was never one for partying in high school (or now, as I’m in college now) and I never encountered mean girls in real life. Sure, I know that it happens in real life (In fact, I hear a party going on in my apartment complex -_____-), but what bothers me is that there’s this assumption that every teenager parties and every teenager faces the mean girls, but that’s just what pop culture tells us. It just feels like they’re in books so often because authors want to make the teenagers more realistic by adding what teenagers do, but it’s just assumption that every teenage faces these things. I hope I made some sense…

  12. Okay, I thought I went to the only high school that didn’t have the mean girls. Yes, some were snobs and thought they were all that and a bag of chips, but they weren’t outright nasty. I heard of people who came to school drunk, heard the puke stories, saw certain things get passed around, including liquids, in the smoking section (now my age is showing) but could never imagine why people were like that in school. I’m not an angel, I have a couple puke stories of my own, but they were few and far between and never on a school night. What they portray in the YA books is beyond anything I can comprehend. Do people actually act this way in high school? And what kind of message is it sending to the actual teens who are reading it? Do they feel like they should be doing it and in turn do so? Do they wonder if they are in the wrong group because they aren’t partying like a rock star and start feeling less of themselves? I hope not, but you never know.

  13. I used to enjoy reading books that has cliques, mean girls, whatever…but that was way back when. So when I read a young adult book that has cliché cliques etc. I just roll my eyes and I’m just like “really? no, really?”.

  14. This is a really interesting post/question, and I’ve found myself thinking about it a lot. Something I’ve wondered for quite a while, is the appeal that YA novels hold towards female adults. Adults in the age range of 25+. I’m NOT judging here, but I AM really really curious about why this age range and above would read the genre. I would have to say, the only YA I’ve read and enjoyed would be The Hunger Games books, and to be honest, I never even thought of them as YA. The only YA thing about them that I could think of, was that the female lead happened to be a teenager. So…I am WAY past my teenage years..and I really have no interest in reading about a 15 year old girl experiencing her “first instaluv” or dealing with parental rules and regulations…even in a paranormal setting. I am mother of two teenagers btw (well, one now as the other is no longer a teenager LOL), so while I have been through the teenager thing with them (and myself of course), I simply can’t relate to teens in books. (Plus the two teens were SO different…one NOT displaying any “typical” teen behaviour whatsoever, and the other SO teenagerly that I regularly wanted to pull out my hair, scream in despair, and run away from home) Plus the “stereotypes” that are so regularly in teenage novels – particularly the American stereotypes, which being an Aussie, I can’t relate to. We didn’t have “the captain of the football team” or the “cheerleaders” in my high school. We did have mean people – the bullies – and I copped my fair share of that too….but they were not in any way,shape or form, like the clique “mean girls – the beautiful rich people” that I see in tv/movies or teen books. In fact, I don’t even remember any “cliques” at all! So YA genre is not a genre I read, and the very few that I did attempt to read because they were getting a helluva lot of hype and good reviews, I just couldn’t stomach them. Half the time I just wanted to reach into the book and smack the leads around the head and tell them “listen to your damn parents, you snotty nosed little brats!” LOL. And it just makes me curious what the appeal to YA is for readers of my age, or even less. (like i said, not judging, just REALLY curious)

    Jaki recently posted: Outlander – Diana Gabaldon
    1. the other thing that makes me giggle and not able to understand, is that obviously the driving age is a lot lower in USA than it is here in Australia. So I read about the leads going on their “dates” and the guy is driving his car….and I just sit there going “WTF?”. Cos at that age over here, if you went out on a “date”, you were either dropped off at the movies by your parents where you hooked up with your friends/date, or took the bus to the late night shopping Thursday night at the local shopping centre, or horrors of horrors, your date’s parents picked you up and dropped the two of you off somewhere. LOL. At 16, you’re NOT driving on your own in your own car. So yeah, those things just don’t relate to me at all.

  15. Excessive partying for sure! I’m sad to admit that I can relate to mean girls a bit. There are several girls in my school that are mean girls. Sure, they don’t do the stuff like egg your car or anything but they do steal your boyfriend, gossip, spread rumors, etc. Books definitely exaggerate that point when it comes to my school. I don’t go to a big high school, but from what I’ve heard the lunch room cliches are pretty true. Jocks/cheerleaders, yeah. Anyway. I feel like the whole 13 year olds dating isn’t realistic. For example, when characters say that they loved someone since they were like 13 I go ??? I was thirteen two years ago. I know what it was like to be thirteen. I was stupid, I was an idiot, and I obsessed. (I still obsess but whatever.)

    This comment is way too long. Great discussion!

    Tori @ Bookish Affairs recently posted: Keeping Up with the Queue
    1. I totally agree! Even when I was a teenager I also hated this stuff. I think that’s why I mostly gravitated towards fantasy books, where it was more about epic battles and wars that actually felt like they meant something, haha.

  16. Oh I’m so with you. I can’t stand the mean girl and party girl personas in books. They’re not relatable or even fun to read about. I want the character that everyone can see themselves as, not the snobbish girl from Clueless lol.

    Julie S. recently posted: Uglies Review
  17. Lmao!! Your “stupid kids” comment made me giggle. I feel the same way, though…the sad part is, I used to be one of those stupid kids. I partied a lot and made drama. But that was when I was 19 and 20. Now I’m 26, I’m engaged and own a house, and I’m ready to settle down. I’ve left that life faaar behind, and I have zero interest in it anymore. Nor do I have the desire to read about it! I definitely understand!

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  18. I feel the same way. I was never into partying hard… and neither was my group of friends. We were kind of the nerdy kids… but I don’t recall much bullying directed toward us (or toward anyone else, for that matter… not to the extent that’s portrayed in some books, anyway). I’m not sure I could even name a “mean girl” from my high school. So books with those sorts of plots seem very foreign to me.

    The bullying I hear about today just boggles my mind. What on earth has happened to teenagers in the past decade or so?

    La Coccinelle recently posted: Booking Through Thursday (35)
  19. Seriously – I really feel too old lately for MG books. YA books it depends on how they are written. I’ve noticed I can’t handle the ones that feature heavily in highschool – like much of the time is spent IN SCHOOL because they just come across way more juvenile to me for some reason. I tend to like the fantasy ones or post apocalyptic ones where you dont’ really see that. It changes the feel of the book considerably and the maturity level of the characters – what do you think?

    Tabitha (Not Yet Read) recently posted: Review: Black Arts by Faith Hunter
  20. The things you mentioned are part of the reason why I don’t enjoy contemporary YA lit as much as fantasy, paranormal, or dystopian (not to say that they are never mean girls or drama in them–it’s just more prevalent in contemporary). I really don’t have any interest in reading books where the focus is superficial characters trying to climb the social ladder; that was never important to me when I was in high school and I just can’t relate to it when reading. All I can think of is how frustrated I am with the character for even wanting to associate with backstabbing mean girls.

  21. Hahaha, those two you mentioned, definitely! Plus I’m also sick to the stomach of the whole love-triangle thing, especially when it’s two boys (one’s the token bad boy, and the other the popular school jock) fighting over lil’ ole’ average me… ohh stop *groan*

    Manda recently posted: Trial by Fire: A Sims Review
  22. I completely understand! I tend to steer away from high school drama books, or YA stories that aren’t in the science fiction and fantasy arenas because I was a misfit in high school, didn’t get it then, and I still don’t get it now at 29. Lately, the very shadow of a love triangle makes me shudder. Or, parental hatred/disrespect. That didn’t bother me so much before, but now that I am a mother…

  23. I feel the same as you! I’ve been feeling too old for YA since I turned 18 (I’m 20 now), lol. I had enough of love at first sight and love triangles. I’m a fantasy fan and at some point, I couldn’t stand a to see some teenagers save the world anymore. Am I the only one who feels like most YA heroin are flawless? Like they’re beautiful, but don’t realize it, the popular boy fall in love with them for no reasons, and they have impressive power/capacity.

    Carla Wynker recently posted: The High King's Embalmer #1 by S. Copperstone
  24. It seemed appropriate that I comment on this post since you left such a great comment on my post about whether or not I would ever grow out of YA. 🙂

    Anyway, I’m sixteen and I completely agree with you – while there are a select few books featuring mean girls/drama and partying that I enjoyed, I tend to stay away from them. As soon as I entered high school and realized that cliques really aren’t a huge thing and that none of my friends were out getting drunk on Friday night, books like that just stopped seeming realistic.

    Emily @ Forever Literary recently posted: Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein
  25. I guess I am old enough so that now when I read YA books featuring what I consider to be stupid behavior (being a bully, partying excessively, SMOKING, not going to college) I feel like the author shouldn’t be endorsing that behavior. I don’t want my children thinking that they need to smoke to be cool, for example.

  26. I’m tired of the love triangles, though I’m finding them more and more in adult books as well. I would just like to read about a couple from time to time, with no other guy or girl trying to get in the way of the relationship. There are many ways, I think, to create tension in a relationship without having a love triangle. Depending on how it’s done, the insta-love tends to bother me too. The love triangles are the worst though.

  27. Love the post! As an avid YA fan in my mid to late twenties, I relate completely to what you’re saying. Certain books I loved as a 16 year old are plain awful to me now. But I think that can be a good thing. It’s a sign of growth. And I still love my YA- I’m just more selective with it now.

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