Struggles of an Indian YA Reader

Me: Hey guys! Today’s post is going to be another collaboration! YAY!!! I’m collaborating with Yukthika, a friend I met at one of Superwoman’s Bawse Book Tour stops! That day was one of the best days of my life, and I’m so grateful for getting to know a beautiful person like Yukthika. We bonded instantly, and while we were, I also found out that we read the same kind of books. Trust me, meeting someone who reads the same kinds of books as I do isn’t something that happens all the time. I knew I had to collaborate with her after our conversation!!! So I asked her, and now we have it! I’m so excited to share this post with you guys, and I’m sure a ton of Indian YA readers can relate to this, and maybe readers from other countries too! Anyway, without further adieu, let’s get into the struggles of an Indian YA reader!

Yukthika: Hello, everyone!! It’s been a while since I have written anything, I hope this is good *nervous smile*. Thanks Namitha for giving me this opportunity, it was lovely working with you xx

 

Now I don’t see you, oh wait! Nah, I still don’t.

The first and the biggest struggle we face is finding books! Do you have any idea how mad we get when people post Instagram stories of them casually going into the bookstore, looking for the book they want to purchase, and just, BUY IT?! This, to us, is a luxury! 

Finding the YA novel that you are looking for while we casually walk into a bookstore, happens only 10% of the time. What happens usually is we end up seeing Percy Jackson, Twilight, Geronimo Stilton (I’m not kidding), Harry Potter, John Green’s books, Fangirl, The Princess Diaries and other really really popular books. No hate to any of the books mentioned here, but we are EXHAUSTED of seeing the same books ALL THE BLOODY TIME!

So, where do we buy our books then? AMAZON!!!! Amazon is literally like God for us! We find the books we want to purchase most of the time and as you can guess, we are ETERNALLY grateful! Alas, our struggle doesn’t end there. 99.9999999999% of the time, these books are HELLA expensive! This isn’t even an exaggeration, I swear. Ask my mom 😉 . If we want to buy, let’s say, 6 new books (let’s be real, no one just buys one book at a time), we only end up buying 2 if we are lucky. No wonder my TBR pile keeps getting larger and larger. So, when people talk about their July Book Haul, which includes like 20 books, we only have 2 or 3 to include in ours (which is why I don’t post book hauls on my blog).

Okay? NOT Okay. 

 

The concept of bookish merch isn’t really popular here. You are going to meet more people wearing Spiderman merch than a TFIOS one. But once a book lover, also a merch lover. So, where do we get, or try, to get our bookish merch then? After our disappointing hunt on Amazon (usually because of the poor quality and crazy cost), we try to look for them at other sites and don’t even get me started on US/UK merchandise websites. Even if we find the perfect merch, there’s a slim chance that they would ship to India. My heart sinks when the list of countries skips from Iceland to Ireland. But even if we do find out that they ship to India, the shipping costs end up being more expensive than the actual cost of the merch.

 

Me: I’ll never give up on you, I’ll love you. I’ll wait forever to see you in person.

(Book-con, YALLWEST, book singings, author meet-ups *nod heads from afar*)

 

This is the worst possible long-distance relationship an Indian YA reader would have to go through. We have tried everything to get over it: movie night with ice-cream, hot chocolate and a good book, trying to look away from the pictures of the events on our Instagram feed…. Nothing. Works. It pisses us off when no one comes to India for book signings. There’s really no option, but for us to go there. If only someone could pay for my ticket, I’d have my bags packed before you could click “confirm”.

 

“So, do you read YA novels?” 

“YA? Oh, I used to… I’m too old for Percy Jackson now…”

 

 

Ok, first of all, NO ONE is too old to read Percy Jackson. Second, YA is not Middle Grade. That’s right. Pray Jackson is a middle-grade series, so is Harry Potter. Being a YA reader in India might feel lonely, mostly because most of the people you know won’t know what YA is. When you try to ask if someone reads from the genre, you often get confused responses and the rest of your time gets wasted in trying to explain what it means.True story, Yukthika is the only person I met who read YA novels before I had a chance to introduce it to her. Finding people to discuss books with is really hard, and you know how important that is to us. 

Adaptations, oops u mean mistakes?

If you are a full-time book dragon like me you would probably know the struggle when your favorite YA books are being turned into movies. These are a few I personally go through;

•When they say, “Oh, the children’s’ film right?” Pssst pssst, Hunger games and Divergent??? Some rad kids we are!!!

•Last but not the least, I bet we all can relate to this- when the movie skips different scenes from the book or the story is completely changed (Percy Jackson). That frustrates me so much, how do I tell these poor people that isn’t what happens in the book?! 

 

Oh, a love story right?

 

 

The most common misconception here in India is-a girl reading a book? I bet it’s a romantic lovey dovey book. When I do tell them that’s it’s Young Adult fiction, ‘romance right?’ that is all I get. Ughh. There are two things wrong over there, 1) guys too can read love stories 2) romantic books are awesome! Do you!! Read whatever you want to! 

There’s a lot more to those ‘love’ stories. You fall in love with the characters you have never seen, places you have never been to and the marvelous words on the pages.

 

A far admirer *sigh*

 

Finding limited edition copies in India is a pain. 1) finding them is nearly impossible 2) when I do find them, they are too costly and I don’t really think it’s worth it – well, tbh am just petty I guess, too many books too less money. So I just admire those beautiful covers through the screen. Oh, what wouldn’t I do to have those.

YA? What’s that?

 

I walk into a bookstore like a Disney princess walking in the woods and I am super excited to look at all my darling YA friends. Instead, I find Jace Herondale next to little Nancy Drew, Hazel Grace adjacent to Puss in the boots and I stand there questioning so many things. I can’t find the book am looking for so I ask the sales person to look for it and they ask me what genre it is and I say Young Adult.

All I get in return is a quizzical look and the book on the shelves of the children’s section or adult section or erotic, oh yes I have seen that happen, Finding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella along with the erotica.

Only if someone could understand our struggles! 

 

That’s all we have for you today guys! Hope you had a fun time reading about the struggles we have to go through lol! Hopefully some of you, whether from India or not, could relate to this!

 

Thanks for reading!

Bye

Namitha & Yuktika 🙂

 

 

18 thoughts on “Struggles of an Indian YA Reader

  1. Oh My Goodness!! This sounds like such a struggle! I feel for you so much! Have you tried reading with ebooks? Almost ll of my books are ebooks, because I don’t buy any of the printed copies. I almost always find them expensive. The printed books I have are all gifts.

    Like

  2. Namitha & Yuktika this was the cutest post!! I totally understand your struggles!! I have a friend who lives in France who also can’t walk in a bookstore or library and get a YA book… No book merchandise or book cons either. *cries* You are dedicated!! ❤ PS. I LOVE your art with the post!! Spot on and I just has to keep reading to see what the next picture was about 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Wow, I didn’t realise there were so many issues- especially that horrible shipping!! 😦 It’s definitely annoying when you can’t find a book you want too- I hope that YA becomes more well-known in India for you and Yuktika, I want you to be able to read everything you want!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Ooh ! That is so weird. Because I would assume that India would have bookstores filled with all types of books especially YA. Although I have this issue here in Doha, Qatar as well. There are like 4 bookstores and all of them have the same books, John Green, Divergent, Harry Potter etc.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. YESSS ! It absolutely does. These days books are so expensive, what with all the shipping charges and stuff. Have you tried Book Depository ? They ship for free. Look out for their sales which sometimes have good books.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. This sounds like such a struggle! I totally understand it though. My cousin lives in the Dominican Republic and it’s super hard to find YA novels. All you ever find there is Twilight, Divergent and TFIOS. Every once in a while I send him a couple of them or usually he has to try to read them online. The world needs to get hip to YA!!

    Liked by 1 person

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