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I used to be an avid reader while growing up and would lose myself in the world of fiction, often imagining what it would be like to be in the same situations as characters. Since I was so heavily involved in the readings, I very much would think about what it would be like to fall in love with other characters. Literally falling in love, or at least crushing on them, which is really embarrassing to admit. This was fine since I was younger or at least around the same age as the characters. Revisiting old fandoms now at the ripe age of 22, I feel really weird.

Knowing that I'm now older than some of the characters I crushed on and rereading the books or consuming media like fanfictions makes me feel weird because the characters are now younger than me... some of them even being minors. What once was fun is now a source of internal conflict as I want to enjoy YA books but can't enjoy them to the fullest extent because I morally can't.

I know that YA Fiction is for all ages, technically, but it's not great for those that are 19 and older. Sure, we can read them for fun but the emotional impact and connection really is the difference between a good book and a great book. And sure, YA refers to anyone in the 16-25 age range but there should be a difference between Teen Reads and YA for 18-year-olds so that this odd conflict doesn't happen.

I'm not saying that people older than 18 can't read YA, but it does impact the reading experience for some. Adult Fiction seems like the next step but there's something about it that doesn't interest me; I'd rather continue reading YA because of the youthfulness and mysticism it offers. Adult Fiction can be rather... lackluster. 

Paige Pennebaker

Chapel Hill '21

Paige Pennebaker is an aspiring writer who attends UNC-Chapel Hill as a Senior during the day. She enjoys writing fiction and has been published on shortfictionbreak.com. While fiction is where her heart is, Paige also has a lot to say about the real world and how to get by.
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