by Emily Fahey
Just 10 years ago, the main audience for Young Adult books was, well, young adults. Most adults undervalued the literature that kids enjoyed, deeming it childish and uninspired. It seems, however, that the over-18 crowd finally understands the value of such works
The New York Times bestseller list classifies books like the Harry Potter series, War Horse and The Hunger Games as children’s books. This genre name is misleading as these novels are loved by people of all ages, including those who’ve long outgrown childhood bestseller list classifies books like the Harry Potter series, War Horse and The Hunger Games as children’s books. This genre name is misleading as these novels are loved by people of all ages, including those who’ve long outgrown childhood.
YA books are devoured by kids and adults alike. According to the article "The Kids’ Books Are All Right" on nytimes.com, "Today, nearly one in five 35 to 44 year-olds say they most frequently buy YA books. For themselves."
According to ala.org, the Michael L. Printz Award for Excellence in YA Literature, first awarded in 2000, was one of the first initiatives to give credibility to YA fiction. Each year, it is awarded to one book, but also honors four other outstanding YA stories. It brought attention to books like Markus Zusak’s The Book Thief and John Green’s Looking for Alaska.
With this new appreciation for YA books, some people are wondering what adults could get from reading a "children’s book." The answer is simple: a lot.
It’s small-minded to think that YA books are just stories. They are enjoyable to read, of course, but are also thought-provoking and allow for scintillating conversation, just as "adult books" would.
There are many different reasons adults want to read YA books. For some, it is for the emotional connections they make with the characters; they understand what the characters are going through and become entranced by their stories.
For others, it’s just the ability to escape from their own realities. YA novels allow readers to recapture their childhoods, which explains why they are so attractive to adults.
YA books may be easy reads, but that doesn’t diminish the quality of the story. Their ease is what makes them so captivating. They aren’t stories bogged down by complex metaphors or filled with syllogisms. Their messages are timeless, so it doesn’t matter if the reader is 13 or 47. Everyone can find something to love in YA books.