Top 5 Things Teens Should Know About Adult Books
March 29, 2012
As a library staff member who works with teens and teen lit all the time, I find myself constantly extolling the value of YA books to adults, whether that’s to my coworkers needing something to display or to customers looking for something to read or even to my friends and family when I’m off the clock. But I realized this morning that I almost never do the reverse, and I’m a little bit ashamed of that. I mean, honestly, I started reading Stephen King when I was in 8th grade, and I know I’m not the only one who ever branched out of youth fiction before graduating from high school.
However, recommending a book that’s been written and published with an adult audience in mind to someone who’s still school-aged can be a tricky business. After all, everyone’s reading abilities and interests vary, and sometimes as a teen, you might not be ready (or willing) to read a book with adult language, content, and concepts (or, you know, your parents might not be ready for you to read a book with adult language, content, and concepts—that’s between you and them). Still, there are some very cool things that I believe all teens should know about adult books that they can find at the library.
Erin’s Top 5 Things Teens Should Know about Adult Books
- Several authors are crossing over the teen/adult line with their fiction. Some authors who typically write for adults are writing teen series (James Patterson, Kathy Reichs, John Grisham, and Harlan Coben, to name a few). Some authors who typically write for teens also write adult novels (Melissa Marr, Eoin Colfer, and others). Some authors write equally for both audiences (Meg Cabot, Neil Gaiman, and Carl Hiaasen are my favorites).
- Every year YALSA puts out a list of winners for their Alex Award. These are books that have been marketed (and typically catalogued) as adult fiction and nonfiction. However, a committee thinks that they are quality works that would have a strong appeal to teen readers.
- You can search for readalikes and genre favorites for teen and adult books in several of our online databases. The three I use the most are NoveList Plus, Fiction Connection, and Nonfiction Connection.
- MCPL does not have a YA nonfiction (a.k.a. true) book collection, but we still purchase nonfiction books that are geared toward (or would be interesting to) teens. Check out books on all your favorite subjects or find a moving memoir or exciting biography in the Adult Nonfiction section at your branch.
- Classics are catalogued as Adult Fiction or Nonfiction. You thought The Hunger Games was violent? Try reading Shakespeare’s Macbeth or Hamlet. Feel like no one understands what it’s like to be poor and desperately trying to find a summer job? Pick up John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men.