I've been a reader since the beginning. As a child, I devoured every book I could get my hands on. In school, I had teachers that gave me extra time to visit the library, because I'd already read every book in their classroom. As a pre-teen, I made it to a point where I'd read every "age appropriate" book in the public library, and so I started reading things like Anne Rice's vampire series at age 11. (Shout out to my mom for always letting me decide what I was ready to read.) I've always been a reader.
What I didn't realize until I became a book blogger, six years ago (oh wow, that was a while ago), was that I missed out on the YA aspect of my reader journey. At the time, YA wasn't a thing really. There may have been books that should have been classified as that, but they weren't marketed and they weren't put into my grabby little teen hands. As I read them as an adult, I realized quickly how important these books were. They dealt with things I remembered dealing with as a teen. Sex, drinking, fake friends, and even abusive relationships. Suddenly, I was seeing all the things in books that I wished someone had given the opportunity to read about when I really needed them the most. Books are great at empathy. When you find one that just KNOWS what you're going through, it's cathartic. I wish I'd had that as a teen.
So now, as an adult, I proudly read YA. I read it, I soak it all in, and I use it as a means to recommend books that I think people might need at certain points in their lives. You're never too old for these books. Some of them are so poignant, so deep, that they bridge the gap effortlessly. I've found more books to love in YA than in any other age group of reading, and I'm not ashamed of that.
So, now you know. Read YA. Love YA. Share YA. It's important.