Just a few things to say about this article.
1. It’s one thing to say readers miss something when they confine themselves to reading YA and quite another to say adults who read YA should be embarrassed. The author makes the former point in the second half of her article, but leads with the latter point. So which is it?
2. Graham claims that most YA novels “consistently indulge in the kind of endings that teenagers want to see, but which adult readers ought to reject as far too simple.” She writes this immediately after citing Eleanor and Park and The Fault in Our Stars as books that made her roll her eyes. Without posting any spoilers, I can only point out that neither of these books have unambiguous or simple endings, and that if they do indulge in a sentimentality representative of the extreme emotions teenagers often feel, these indulgences occur as counterpoints to some very “adult” situations.
3. Graham also critiques the YA genre by claiming that “[Adult readers] are asked to abandon the mature insights into that perspective that they (supposedly) have acquired as adults.” Says who? No one says you have to read a YA novel and get no more out of it than an average thirteen year old would. She mentions Ellen Raskin’s The Westing Game as having been a book she enjoyed when she was young, then says she has no desire to read it again now that she’s older. However, if she did read that wickedly funny, smart, and observant book now, I’m betting she’d pick up on about a million small things even a highly intelligent teen reader would be apt to miss, and even if such a reader did note such details, he/she would lack the experience needed to fully understand them.
4. So in that case, what is YA, anyway? Graham differentiates between the likes of Twilight, which is considered to be weak literature by and large, and the likes of Eleanor and Park, which was published to near-universal acclaim. Graham is correct to note that there are different kinds of YA, but she doesn’t go far enough. Different kinds of books are often marketed as YA simply because they feature teenage protagonists. To declare that adults should find YA “embarrassing” to read is to declare that readers, instead of making their own critical judgments about books, should simply dismiss many excellent novels out of hand simply because a publisher decided that this was how to best make money on a book.
These are my reactions off the top of my head, but at the very least, I think I can definitely say that Graham’s argument is at best unclear. She does make the point that we lose something by restricting our reading entirely to YA, and on that point I agree, though for YA, you could substitute nearly any other genre.