Let's start at the beginning. When someone asks me what I like to do in my free time, my answer is: I like to read. Most people's reactions are something along the lines of:
Then they ask what genre I like to read. My standard answer is: anything fantasy. I leave out the 'young adult' part because people see this genre as something for teens around 13 or 14 years old. Young adult is seen as a genre that doesn't deliver "great plots" and is basically the "kiddie pool" in literature as we can read in Slate's article Against YA: Adults should be embarrassed to read young adult books (and many other articles). Hell, some people even comment with 'YA isn't even a genre'.
I don't want people to see me as someone who reads "soppy" or "badly-written" books. Because that's not what they are. The most wonderful and life-changing stories I've read are from the YA section at the bookstore. People tend to forget that The Hunger Games, which everyone saw and loved, was originally a YA trilogy. It's not because YA's target is young adults that a) it's not a beautiful and well-written story and b) I can't read it because I'm an adult now.
I don't want to hide what I like to read anymore because it feels like I'm lying and I'm not a liar. Yet I don't know how to cope with reactions like the following: