The Freedom To Read Widely, YA books, book review, lifestyle blog, book blog

The Freedom to Read Widely



This post was first published on We Love This Book

For me reading was a huge part of growing up. It allowed me to delve into different characters lives, explore the worlds they lived in and the experiences they encountered. A love for reading is a love you’ll have for life, it is something you’ll never grow out of. As a young reader I read widely, I enjoy literary and popular fiction but I mostly read YA. However it sometimes feels to me that the industry patronises YA books and readers and dilutes the content and more ruthless themes merely because the books are aimed at a younger audience.

Teen readers such as myself create a huge market in the book industry, the whole YA and teen genre of books have created a community that encourages young readers to open their eyes to reading and the sheer amount of stories to be told. Sadly quite a few teenagers are put off reading as they progress from child to teenager even though the YA genre has supplied teenagers with accessible and engaging books that really give us an insight into different people’s lives.

Sometimes I feel that teen readers aren’t taken as seriously as older readers because it is seen that we are not mature enough to handle hard-hitting topics and themes that may challenge our perception on the world we live in. Some argue that publishers patronise teen readers and to a certain extent, I agree. As a young reader I find it patronising that publishers and adults think they can tell me what I should be reading and what is deemed appropriate, suggesting that as a teen reader I’m not old enough to be exposed to harsher topics such as murder, abuse, sexism or rape. It is wrong to suggest that teen readers are naive about these issues covered in novels because we are constantly subjected to it on the television through TV dramas, films and more frequently, the news. Therefore I believe there should be no boundaries when it comes to reading and teen readers should be able to branch out and dip into different genres, enriching their minds with darker fiction that covers serious topics.

Surely we should be reading what we enjoy and ultimately what we are interested in?

As a young reader I love to indulge myself with gripping stories that teach me something about the world, as they allow me to emphasise with the characters as they are faced with challenges that I will most likely never face. It’s important to find books shocking and emotional, and not just stick to the easy read high school love stories in order to learn about different cultures and people but most importantly broaden our imagination with engrossing stories of pain and misfortune.

An example of this is Kevin Brooks’s The Bunker Diary which won the 2014 CILIP Carnegie prize. It is the story of a child named Linus Weems who is kidnapped and imprisoned in an underground bunker. In his acceptance speech for the Carnegie Brooks revealed that he fought for ten years to get his book published because it wasn’t classed as suitable for children. The book was described as “sickening” and “vile” because of themes such as drugs, violence and murder. It was also criticised because of its lack of a happy ending.

Some of my favourite books are those that have moved me to tears or shocked me to the extent that I have been left thinking it about for days. My love for reading was sparked through engaging and thought provoking books. I love dark suspense novels that make you question the events that take place throughout the story and urge you to pass it on to friends in order to get their opinion.

The best YA novels are the novels that aren’t written specifically for teenagers; they are the novels written about teenagers. Imaginative stories that instantly absorb us and keep our eyes peeled to the pages. In my opinion, as long as teenagers are reading, that’s all that matters and we shouldn’t be discredited as being unsophisticated readers. Reading gives us freedom and escapism, it allowing us to enter another world without any boundaries holding us back.


This post was first published on We Love This Book

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