Young Adult Books for Old(ish) Adults
September 01, 2011
I, like many of you, used to think that since I was a not-quite-so-young-anymore adult, young adult fiction was not for me. "I am raising a teen", I thought, "I don’t need to be reading about teens. There is quite enough angst in my life". But, after picking up a few YA novels, I realize I couldn’t have been more wrong. YA fiction has become one of my favorite genres.
Many adults were first made aware of young adult fiction by Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight series. I have been pleasantly surprised to find that there are many really good YA authors on the scene now who have great appeal to readers young and not-so- young alike. And even better, some popular adult fiction authors have branched out to write books that appeal to young and more "seasoned" readers alike.
I think the appeal of young adult stories is that we can all relate. Who hasn’t felt unpopular, unloved, uncool, anti-authority, anti-social, and just generally "anti-everything"? What adult hasn’t had the thrill of the firsts experienced anew by teens? First kiss, first time driving, first time away from home? I remember my teen years well, and to quote Charles Dickens, "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times".
YA authors capture all of the ups and downs of teendom. For parents who are in the middle of struggles with their teens, YA novels can bring back memories to bridge the gap. For teens, YA books can help them see that their struggles and accomplishments are much more universal than they think. Many YA authors also write compelling stories about current topics like school violence or bullies.
If you are, like me, a parent of teens reading, YA fiction may be a way to bridge a gap, start a conversation, or even entice a reluctant reader to enjoy a book. For outstanding YA fiction, look up some of the past Gateway Award winners, or some of the current nominees. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised to find a whole new world of books open up.