For as long as I can remember I have loved to read, and my tastes have run from the highest of brows to the lowest. I spent ample amounts of time absorbed by Jane Austen, the Bronte sisters, and various other “classic” authors. I’ve also spent quite a lot of time devouring romance novels, the kind with nearly nude covers and heros and heroines that are always quivering, science fiction/fantasy, and YA novels.
Even now, Ernest Hemingway, Shel Silverstein, John Green, and Nora Roberts all have a place on my bookshelf, and it really gets my goat when someone argues that a book is bad because of its genre. I mean, I understand having a preference for one genre or the other personally – but to claim that all romance novels are bad, or that all YA fiction is bad, is simply foolhardy to me.
There are books worth reading in every genre, just as there are books that aren’t. For example, Harry Potter and The Hunger Games are generally placed in the same genre, but i would argue that the former is far superior to the latter. Both are YA, both dystopian/fantasy fiction – however, one has superior rhetoric and stronger, more relatable themes to me, and that makes all the difference. And this holds true in every genre – there are good books and bad books, certainly – but you can’t judge a book by its genre!
And I suppose the biggest reason it bothers me is that there are a lot of books I enjoy that are romance, or YA, or both – so often, it can be difficult not to take such criticism personally.
So if you’re a person with a dislike for one genre or the other, take a careful look at your reasons, and try not to make generalizations. Think about your audience – the problem with critiquing books is that the people reading your critiques are almost always well – read enough to disprove your point if they are so inclined.