Young Adult Fiction… For Teens or Adults?

I always thought I was in the minority of people over the age of 17 who still really liked Young Adult and Middle Grade fiction but apparently 71% of people who buy Young Adult fiction are age 18-24. 47% being women, 24% being male according to The New York Times. I thought most people wouldn’t like all the angst. Interesting stuff. Adult fiction rarely ever catches my eye. I guess for me, I don’t like how serious adult fiction is. I need an ESCAPE from reality, not to read about it as well as live it.

 I noticed when Ricardo and I went to the movies to see The Fault in Our Stars the other day that the majority of the audience were adults. Probably between the ages of 30-55. I had recently heard John Green talk about how most of his audience was adults but it still seemed odd to me. Why do people over the age of 30 care about books with the main characters aged 15-18? I guess for John Green novel its because he focuses a lot on loss. It doesn’t matter how old you are, you can still suffer the loss of a loved one.
But is this the case for all other YA fiction novels? What about Twilight? and The Hunger Games? Do adults crave Dystopian novels too? And sparkly vampire romance? They don’t seem as relatable as John Green novels… I have some friends who make fun of me for still reading teen fiction because they say it’s too angsty or too much melodrama. I just like what I like. And fantasy and angst is what I like I suppose.



5 thoughts on “Young Adult Fiction… For Teens or Adults?

  1. I think part of the issue with this kind of thing is that YA is a huge genre. Pretty much all that defines it is that it features teenage protagonists – although even there if it’s set in the 70s or 80s it’s often aimed at people who *were* teens then rather than who are teens now – and its themes are appropriate for teenagers.

    What ‘appropriate’ means is hugely varied, too. The Hunger Games, in terms of prose and story complexity, would be a children’s book were it not for all those kids killing each other. The Mortal Instruments, on the other hand, is almost indistinguishable in genre from something like The Dresden Files, but for the fact that the protagonists are all teens and the story deals with coming-of-age themes. These are themes that young adults like myself can relate to, moreso than many of the themes in adult novels which tend to feature characters at a stage in life I haven’t reached.

    Even books such as The Hunger Games, which is by no means a technically difficult read for many teens, can still be thought-provoking to adults. When I read it it made me think about mob mentality and the way society shapes our morality, in a way I probably wouldn’t have if I’d read the book ten years ago.

    And sometimes, you come across a YA/MG book that’s just plain fun. I’m not going to pretend that Artemis Fowl is mentally stimulating in any way, but it makes me laugh and smile and (once) cry. While books that make you think are beneficial, it’s fallacious to argue that those should be the only things we read. I haven’t read a novel for the primary purpose of mental improvement since I was an undergrad studying English. I read because it’s fun.

  2. Hi there! Love reading your posts.

    I’m also in that minority/majority of over 18s who read YA. I’ve seen a lot of blog posts recently about this, especially after the Slate article came out “shaming” adults for reading YA. To me, it seems like most adults crave the plot, and the angst is something you deal with to get to emotions. That’s the reason you can’t put some of these books down – they’re not too fussy with the descriptions but instead keep things moving.

    Also, Catcher in the Rye is now considered YA. And that is the epitome of a book for all ages.

  3. Hmmm… I’m not entirely sure what to make of that article. To be honest I don’t think the author of it really knew how she felt about YA either. A lot of what she said sounded contradicting.

    I am 22 years old and I still consider myself a “young adult.” I don’t feel like a complete adult because I don’t have a mortgage and I’m not married and I’m not settled into a career yet. I still feel like my life needs a whole lot of putting together at this point lol like a teenagers.

    Another thing I noticed was that this author was pretty biased with YA genres. She gave more defense to reading books like The Fault in Our Stars but immediately knocked down books with any kind of fantasy in them like Divergent and Twilight. I don’t think she should have gone as far as saying people don’t consider them “serious literature.” Just because it’s not realistic fiction or about real life doesn’t mean it should be looked down upon. That irritated me reading that.

    I, for one, loved Twilight. I think the films gave it a bad reputation and I don’t think they should be judged because of their film adaptations. And this writer sounds like she has never read them. Or if she did she went into it thinking “Ew sparkly vampires.”

    In my opinion, I think she was too biased to even take seriously. Super close-minded people shouldn’t have the right to pass judgement and say things like well, if you’re an adult just reading YA then you are just missing out.

    She completely missed the point of John Greens characters as well. I have never read The Fault in Our Stars but I did see the movie and I have read Looking for Alaska. I think making really intelligent, hipster-ish teenagers is just his thing. I have been reading about how kids are getting more and more intelligent because technology revolution and internet just taking over education. And the whole “hipster” generation is all about being clever and witty.

    I could go on and on about this article. I probably should have made this into a blog post lol What is your opinion of this article by the way? (Sorry for the ramble!)

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