his Facebook page recently. The answers he’s getting
haven’t changed much in the past year and they are still somewhat
unsatisfactory to me. I’ve read a couple of dozen articles on the topic and
polled my YA-reading adult friends. The top
three answers are as follows. Adults read YA because these books:
- are not going to have graphic sex and/or
foul language in the romance novels.
- are shorter, less complicated, and easier
- are about the struggle between
good and evil with big themes that are easily understood.
- Graphic sex in YA books has been around a
long time. Forever, by Judy Blume was
first published in 1975.
- Many YA novels are not shorter and
easier to read than adult novels. The Harry Potter books, Jonathan Stroud’s Bartimaues series, and The Book Thief, to name a few, are
longer and more sophisticated than many adult novels.
- It’s not true that YA
books are about big struggles between good and evil, either. An awful lot of
them are vapid stories about shallow girls fighting and having sex.
literary composition characterized by a particular style, form, or content,
but YA fiction comes in many different styles, forms, and types of content.
romance, steam punk, historical novels, literary novels, and contemporary YA
books. There are coming of age stories, action/adventure novels, issue books, thrillers,
horror novels, dystopians and, oh yeah, fantasies.
a whole, we might come up with different answers to the question at hand.
don’t know. There are clean romances and raunchy romances on shelves in both the adult and the YA sections. Maybe some women prefer YA over adult romances because in YA novels readers are more likely to find stories about first love (you can’t write about first
love these days with an adult heroine and have anyone believe it), and there is something attractive about first
love–love that still believes in a soul mate, love that sill believes in
Dystopian is enjoying huge crossover appeal. I think this is the one genre about
which it can be said that YA books are more simplistic than their adult
counterparts. Teen dystopians are fast-paced, mostly written in first-person
and often in the present tense. They are about action, not about
characterization, and most don’t offer deep, thoughtful commentary on the state
of the world. They are full of cartoonish government bullies and kick-ass heroines. I think adult dystopians are deeper and require more thought.
books do have in common, regardless of genre: hope.
do something significant? Teens get involved in causes. They protest wars and
picket abortion clinics and speak out against bullying. They are moved by songs about suffering and loss. They are idealistic. Seeing inequality
and poverty in the world, they look for ways to fight those things. Teens still
hope to find the love of their lives and they still think they can succeed at
anything if they only believe.
many YA readers felt when the Hunger Games series ended without hope.) I think adults might like YA novels because they end with hope. In a society
where many have come to realize that we aren’t in control and life is
painful and people die and stocks lose value, adult readers might be looking for
books that end in hope.
just in the teen’s breast, after all.
genres? Do you need a happy ending? Do you prefer stories that end with hope?