Are YA books just junk food for adults or do they have just as much merit?

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Here at Once Upon a Book Club, we love young adult literature. We definitely know we aren’t alone, which is why we created our special Adult and YA Bundle. But more about that later! When it comes to the bookish world, YA literature is the fastest-growing category out there and it’s easy to see why. 

We know many people consider it junk food for adults, and considering we don’t mind the occasional Uber Eats order, we’re not exactly sure that's a criticism! Sit back and relax while we delve into the wonderful world of YA literature and why you should consider grabbing one for your next read!

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YA Literature: A Realm of Exploration

YA literature is renowned for its focus on themes relevant to young adults, like identity, love, friendship, and that all-too-complex transition to adulthood. We think what makes it so popular is its ability to provide a mirror for young adults to see themselves and their challenges reflected in the characters and stories.

You may want to have a look at our blog, Empowering Teen Voices: Books That Inspire and Uplift Teens. As we said there, the teenage years are not easy by a long shot—for teenagers or their parents! It’s a period in our lives that is full of big questions and even bigger emotions. Who am I? Where do I fit in? And why does everything feel like the end of the world? We think if young adulthood came with a trusty manual, it would definitely be in the form of books.

Books have the power to offer new perspectives, moments of inspiration, a shared experience, and a laugh, to name just a few. YA books, through their wonderful stories, can inspire and uplift all of us.

Adults Reading YA Fiction: A Growing Trend

There are so many reasons why YA Fiction is becoming more popular with adults. For some, it is pure escapism, and for others, it is that feeling of nostalgia. If you’re looking for a quick read, YA novels are a great option. These incredible stories also offer us a window into the world of young adulthood and provide insights we may not have otherwise encountered.

Yes, we love YA literature and here’s why our team is completely hooked!

Tristan - “There is no age limit on a good story!”

Nicole - “YA books are written just as well as adult books and can have especially wholesome and imaginative storylines”

Teri - “I love how much fun YA books can be, they don’t have to take themselves seriously all the time. Characters can crack jokes or be snarky and silly, even when facing serious obstacles. Also, there’s nothing quite like a good YA romance. Teenagers feel emotions so deeply and so fully, and it feels nostalgic to see them fall in love with so much hope, having not yet been turned cynical by adulthood.

Sydney - “I love YA books because I love the feeling of being transported right back to being that age! It's such a complex time with a wide range of emotions and I also love how imaginative the books can get.”

Logan - “YA books are something I enjoy reading because they frequently explore topics of adult novels without as heavy an outline. There can be war, but it's not as gruesome. There can be love, but it's not as spicy. While the heavy, intense topics of adult books are so important, it definitely is a nice reprieve to experience these things through a younger lens.“

Tiffany - "We were all young once, so we can all relate to a YA novel even if we think we can't. YA novels also provide escapism and a wonderful sense of nostalgia."

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Benefits of Reading YA Books

There are perhaps some unexpected benefits when it comes to reading YA novels. We particularly enjoy how they tackle complex issues in such an accessible way, encouraging both empathy and understanding. 

Another great benefit of YA fiction is that it can be used as a tool for discussing difficult topics like mental health, sexuality, and social justice. We also can’t help but love the resilience and growth of the YA protagonists, who have the innate ability to inspire us on so many levels.

Comparing YA to Adult Fiction

Comparing the two is not easy as they both have such different objectives. YA fiction is generally geared towards readers aged 12 to 18 and features protagonists of similar ages dealing with themes relevant to young adults. Adult literature is primarily aimed at readers aged 18 and above, and obviously, the themes, complexity, and language are tailored to an adult audience.

YA novels are often praised for their fast-paced plots, emotional depth, and their emphasis on character development. While adult fiction often explores more complex themes or employs more sophisticated narratives. This doesn’t mean that one is inherently better than the other; they simply cater to different tastes and needs.

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YA Novels' Impact

YA novels are not just entertaining; their impact extends far beyond that. They have the ability to influence, inspire, and encourage new thoughts among readers of all ages. Perhaps one of the key impacts is how YA fiction has significantly contributed to cultural conversations around important issues, pushing boundaries, and challenging societal norms. 

They are known for their inclusivity and diversity and, as a result, have given everyone a voice offering perspectives that have historically been under-represented in adult fiction.

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We Love YA Literature

Our monthly YA book subscription boxes are simply amazing! Our fun packaging and book-shaped box contain a newly released novel and 3 to 5 wrapped gifts labeled with corresponding page numbers, carefully selected to bring the pages to life. As the story captivates your imagination, you can't help feeling the anticipation rise to the surface as you are prompted to open each gift at certain page numbers.

This fabulous box also contains extras like the Book Club Kit, which is full of information and activities that simply add to the reading experience. Our bookmarks and quote cards are specifically designed each month to contain a quote from the novel, and some of our select boxes contain signed bookplates autographed by the author. Yes, it is the gift that keeps on giving.

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Adult & YA Bundle - The Best of Both Worlds

As we mentioned earlier, we love YA literature which is why we decided to bundle our Adult and YA subscriptions boxes together. Now you can experience the magic of our Adult and Young Adult subscription boxes on a monthly basis in this money-saving bundle

Each month, you will receive the Adult and Young Adult boxes (shipped separately) for one price! This price is 10% less than if you purchased both boxes separately, making this a deal you do not want to miss!


As you can see, dismissing YA books as mere "junk food" for adults means we overlook their richness and diversity. YA novels offer significant benefits and have a profound impact on readers and society. 

They foster empathy, encourage the exploration of self-identity, and provide a platform for discussing critical social issues. While the debate over the merit of YA fiction compared to adult literature might continue, it's clear that YA books have carved out a rightful place in the literary world, deserving of recognition and appreciation from readers of all ages. We hope we have convinced you to grab a YA novel for your next read. We would love to hear about your experiences. Happy reading!

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