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Young Adult Fiction – Not just for Kids


The young adult fiction genre has skyrocketed into the mainstream in recent years with titles like “Harry Potter,” “Twilight” and “Hunger Games.” Where previously many adults dismissed YA as a kids’ genre, more and more people are now reaching for the latest YA bestseller. If you’re already a reader, you know how much fun these books can be. If not, read on for why you should give YA fiction a chance, regardless of your age.

Sparkly vampires? Not back in my day...

YA fiction is everywhere these days. You’ll see people young and old immersed in the adventures of Harry Potter on the subway, or waiting anxiously for their favorite title to be made into a movie, puzzling over who is going to play which role.

YA fiction is defined as fiction marketed roughly to ages 14 to 21. But this category is proving all the more flexible. According to the L.A. Times, YA is “one of the brightest spots in an otherwise bleak publishing market.” In 2009, children’s and YA hardcover sales were up 30.7 percent from the previous year, while adult hardcover sales dwindled.

The New York Times reported that so far in 2011, YA e-books make up 20 percent of the total digital sales for St. Martin’s Press titles.

So it’s clear that YA is appealing to more and more people. Here are a few reasons not to frown  on this rising genre, even after you pass the age of 21.

Simple Writing

By simple, I don’t mean simplistic and childish. Although there are certainly titles out there that treat readers like they are not the brightest bulbs in the box, a lot of YA today features good, clean, straightforward writing. And as Mark Twain and Ernest Hemingway have famously advocated, simple writing is the best writing.

"Eschew surplusage." -- Mark Twain

This is where YA fiction has a particular edge. Because its target audience is supposed to be young people, authors feel less pressured to embellish their writing with long, obscure words and dense prose. YA writing tends to get to the point and keep a fast pace, sweeping readers along.

Exciting Stories

Many bestselling novels become sensations mainly because of their exciting, captivating plots. YA fiction, designed to appeal to impatient young people, tends to not dwell too long on description and backstory, opting instead to keep the story moving. This makes many of them quick reads. It’s also why they are so successful in turning kids into readers. But adults too will enjoy the pulse-quickening pace.

Imaginative Settings

Whether we join the characters in swooping past the spires of Hogwarts, or hide with them from oppressive regimes in futuristic settings, YA authors have no trouble unleashing their imaginations. YA fiction seems to be a genre where writers and readers alike can let go of the real world and enter more fantastic ones instead.

Enter a world of fantasy.

YA books are a wonderful form of escapism, and with their simple writing style and fast-paced plots are easy to pick up even at the end of a long day – although not nearly as easy to put down! The time for rigid audience boundaries has passed, and everyone can enjoy a good YA novel, guilt-free.

Suggested readings:

“The Hunger Games” trilogy by Suzanne Collins

“Harry Potter” series by J. K. Rowling

“The Golden Compass” by Philip Pullman

“Ender’s Game” by Orson Scott Card


One comment on “Young Adult Fiction – Not just for Kids

  1. Pingback: How-to: Enjoy Summer Like The Romantics « Blissful Belle

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