In a world of social media and easily accessible content, more lines and boundaries can and have been pushed. However, is this issue also bleeding into literature? 

Over the past couple of years, certain platforms of social media relating to books have begun to rise and have gained large followings. These networks have given younger readers a place to create, find recommendations and talk about/review books – bringing more people into the world of literature. However, with this widespread community comes more access to certain types of literature. Books that are targeted for older audiences are trending within the society and are therefore promoted to these younger readers. 

Because books do not have age ratings, this content can be accessed everywhere without confirmation of age – leading to more younger readers viewing this content and seeing it as appropriate.  

In conversation with peers, it was discovered that at least every one of them had seen books and literature with adult themes promoted and advertised to them on their social media. Some mentioned how covers of these books were becoming more ‘childish’ and aimed for younger people through bright, colourful cartoon artwork. This kind of advertisement has become a common practice nowadays, but it is inducing more harm than good. 

A couple of these peers also expressed how the genre of ‘young adult’ felt like it was starting to bleed into other genres such as ‘new adult’ because of these mature themes. The line between the two was becoming ‘rapidly blurred’ and covers, blurbs and reviews were becoming increasingly ‘unreliable’ commented one peer.  

However, some did comment on how more shops were clearly showing the books intended age rating through the use of stickers on covers and signs. This positive improvement is a step in the right direction but still not a widespread action that is being taken.  

Overall, due to social media and other influences these mature and adult themes are slowly becoming desensitised to younger readers and creating harmful and unrealistic ideals. Reading and literature should cater to all but also be respectful and appropriate for the correct audiences. So, next time you pick up a book or see a recommendation, make sure it is suitable for you. Happy reading!