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Don’t ditch your middle school favorites!

By Talia Belowich

Literati BookStore, a thriving local book shop in Ann Arbor, recently announced their new collection of titles. As part of the advertisement, Literati stated that it would take 252 years to read every book in their store. While this statement was likely meant to boast about the impressive quantity of their merchandise, it left me feeling anxious and eager to consume. That said, the ad also reminded me of the vast number of books that exist. Unfortunately, no matter how long we live, each one of us will only be able to consume a small percentage of the world’s literature. So, we might as well read what we enjoy — including young adult novels.

I read the Hunger Games for the first time as a junior in college. I consumed the entire Harry Potter series the prior summer, and I am currently working my way through Lord of the Rings. I was never a big reader in middle school and high school; I read my required books for English classes, but that was it. It was only once I got to university that I took up reading as a hobby.

After three years of consuming young adult (YA) novels and literary classics, I finally feel caught up to my peers and the many conversational references to these famous works of literature. And here’s what I will say: the YA genre is for people of all ages.

Some YA books are simplistic in language and plot, but that doesn’t diminish their value. I have read all twenty one of Colleen Hoover’s books because I can; I’m a sucker for a cheesy love story, and prefer to indulge in a lighthearted read as I eat my oatmeal, rather than a tv show. I can’t say I learned much or, to be honest, anything, from her collection of romance novels. But I’d be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy every second of them.

Other YA books are more valuable than many “adult” books I’ve read. Take The Hunger Games, for instance. The dystopia mirrors our own society with eerie accuracy, as their government exerts power over the people, resulting in those who have the least power and influence suffering the most. This work prompted me to reflect upon our own government and the almost dystopian power dynamics embedded in U.S. democracy. With the anticipated November release of a fourth hunger games movie, there is no better time than now to read, or reread, the series.

According to my Goodreads profile, I have read over 70 books in the last two years. Seven of those were Harry Potter, 21 were by Colleen Hoover, and the remainder were a mish-mash of artists, written by literary gods and goddesses. The one thing all of these books have in common is that I enjoyed them. When I don't enjoy a book, I set it down — there are far too many life-altering pieces of literature to waste my time on content I don’t adore.


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