The Increasing Popularity of Young Adult Literature Among Adults

Screenshot (8) This post has been taken out of context, so if you’re curious about the full article, just type the headline into Google.

Young adult literature is popular, as evidenced by the above post. What caught me most about this specific passage though was the mention that it is embarrassing that so many adults read young adult novels, the implication being that you’re hooked on to your teenage years. I don’t know about you, but I don’t wear any rose-colored glasses about my teenage years. I suppose the older one gets though, the more tempting it is to put on rose-colored glasses about one’s childhood, forgetting all the messy emotions you feel as you’re growing up, the total lack of freedom, having to be 100% dependent on people to care for you, and all sorts of other things that actually make me grateful that I am not a child anymore. I suppose one can wish to return to one’s childhood with the wisdom one has now, but no one is going to treat you as any less of a child just because you know arguing with your parents is senseless.

In any case, I find it offensive that young adult novels are still being held below adult novels and literary classics. Sure, there are some classics among young adult novels, but they’re classics for children, not classics overall. No one considers it embarrassing that there are kids who read adult books or that teens are forced to read classics they likely don’t relate to. But we’re still belittling young adult novels as less than other genres, even children’s literature, for reasons I can’t comprehend.

I suppose popularity breeds resentment, but books are popular for a reason. The public isn’t concerned about the nuances of writing so much as writers themselves, so they’re not as picky about artful writing as we are, which is probably why a book like Twilight was so popular among average readers but so scorned among the writing community.

I don’t think young adult fiction is popular among adults because we want to re-claim our teen years. I think young adult fiction is popular among adults because we want to remind ourselves how messy the teen years actually are. And they are. They’re rife with muddled emotions, hormones that screw with every decision you make, relationships that can turn potentially disastrous; forced to act like an adult but treated as a child; and so many other things that make the young adult genre as popular as it is.

I love the young adult genre because I love dramatic character change and emotional stories. Teens are chockfull of the potential to develop dramatically, thus creating emotion-centered characters that are very much about themselves.

While Suzanne Collins may not have the best prose available, she sure the heck knows how to craft an ingenious story, and story should take precedence over whether or not you can create artful prose that rivals the prose of the classics (I shoot for both, but at the end of the day, I want readers to love my story more than my writing).

I think it’s fantastic that teen fiction is popular among adults. This popularity has brought more notice and awareness to the young adult genre as a whole, and I find that amazing. While some people still scoff, you can’t deny how popular young adult literature has become within the last ten years.

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Author:

Also known as The Dancing Writer, she is currently working on The Stars Trilogy, among other works.

11 thoughts on “The Increasing Popularity of Young Adult Literature Among Adults

  1. I know a lot of adults who like YA fiction–because the stories are good and the characters are interesting. A good read is a good read. Nothing to be ashamed of or embarrassed about at all.

  2. Interesting topic. My dad just mentioned this to me last night by coincidence since he had read Minutes Before Sunset by Shannon Thompson and enjoyed it so much that he’s waiting for the next book.

    I personally think there’s another reason they’re popular: they’re (almost) guaranteed to be lighter and safer. They avoid the harsh language, graphic violence and carnal sex scenes that few of us can handle very much of at a time.

    I listen to a lot of books on cd, and you can imagine the awkwardness of scenes like that when riding with someone else in the car – I look almost exclusively for young adult books on cd for this reason. I think the same awkwardness occurs in our head when reading an adult book, forcing us to look around to see if anyone sees the blushing before going to back to rush through and finish the scene so that we can relax again. I think it’s the reason so many moves are made to be PG-13 – the audience becomes, pretty much, everyone.

  3. One of my all time favourite books to read thus far was The Hunger Games I would have to say I don’t care what tags they put on a book I will read it if the story line intrigues me. I am nearly 49 and to prove a book can cover all age groups my Mother who is in her seventies LOved the hunger games too. In the big picture I am writing young adult novels because thats where I feel I can reach my type of reader. Thanks for the post enjoyed it very much.

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